MILAN, April 7 (Reuters) - Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli, one of the world's most famous tenors, will perform from Milan's empty Duomo cathedral on Easter Sunday in a livestreamed concert intended as a symbol of love, hope and healing amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Bocelli will be accompanied only by the cathedral organist, Emanuele Vianelli, playing one of world's largest pipe organs and performing a repertoire of sacred works including Pietro Mascagni's Sancta Maria.
The concert will be streamed on Bocelli's YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/andreabocelli at 1700 GMT on April 12.
"I'm honoured and happy to answer 'Si' to the invitation of the City and the Duomo of Milan. I believe in the strength of praying together; I believe in the Christian Easter, a universal symbol of rebirth that everyone – whether they are believers or not – truly needs right now," said Bocelli.
Italy, which remains in lockdown, has suffered the world's highest death toll from COVID-19, with 16,523 deaths as of Monday and almost 133,000 cases. Milan and the surrounding Lombardy region have been the worst affected by the pandemic.
"Thanks to music, streamed live, bringing together millions of clasped hands everywhere in the world, we will hug this wounded Earth's pulsing heart," Bocelli added.
The mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala, said: "This year, Easter will be very different for all of us ... I am sure that the extraordinary voice of Bocelli will be the embrace we are missing these days, a strong, special hug, capable of warming the heart of Milan, Italy and the world." (Reporting by Reuters Television; Writing by Alexandra Hudson; Editing by Mike Collett-White)
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