Andrea Bocelli’s Easter Sunday performance breaks 2 YouTube records

Andrea Bocelli on the 'Che Tempo Che Fa' TV show at Rai Milan Studios on Dec. 1, 2019 in Milan, Italy. Pietro D'aprano/Getty Images

In the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemicAndrea Bocelli, the Italian opera singing icon, has broken two of YouTube’s biggest records.

On Easter Sunday (April 12), the five-time Grammy Award nominee put on not only the biggest classical livestream event in the website’s history, but also its biggest musical livestream of all time.

The 61-year-old’s Music For Hope concert at the Duomo di Milano — the cathedral church of Milan, Italy — pulled in more than 2.8 million “peak concurrent viewers” across the globe while it was happening, according to Variety.

Bocelli was invited by the city and the esteemed Christian church to spread a message of positivity, love and hope through the power of music during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Italy has been hard hit by the illness. It was officially placed under a nationwide emergency lockdown by its government on March 9 in an attempt to combat COVID-19.

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Bocelli’s five-song solo set — featuring renditions of classics like Ave Maria and Amazing Grace — pulled in more than 28 million views in only 24 hours, and as of Thursday afternoon, sits at 36 million.

Though the first weekend of the Coachella Music Festival in 2019 amassed more than 82.9 million live views, it highlighted a plethora of different artists over the course of three days, whereas Bocelli’s Music For Hope event lasted less than 25 minutes.

Prior to the event, more than one million fans lined up to watch Bocelli perform on YouTube’s digital queue on Sunday, as reported by Variety.

In this Oct. 29, 2015 file photo, Andrea Bocelli poses for a portrait in New York City.

“I am moved and delighted to have received such an overwhelming reaction that has gone beyond our highest expectations,” Bocelli said in a statement.

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“It was an immeasurable honor and privilege to lend my voice to the prayers of millions of people, gathered in a single embrace — a small, great miracle of which the whole world was the protagonist and which confirms my optimism about the future of our planet.”

Last month, the Andrea Bocelli Foundation (ABF) launched a COVID-19 relief fund to help Italy’s Camerino hospital provide its staff with necessary PPE to keep them safe. The campaign can be found through GoFundMe and has surpassed its €250,000 goal — which equates to more than $383,000.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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