Andrea Bocelli concert from empty Milan cathedral is largest classical live stream in YouTube history

15 April 2020, 14:53 | Updated: 15 April 2020, 14:56

By Kyle Macdonald

Andrea Bocelli has made history – his Milan cathedral concert is the biggest ever classical live stream, with more than 28 million views from across the globe in its first 24 hours.

At a time when we all need music to give hope and comfort, Andrea Bocelli gave us a moment on Easter Sunday that seemed to rise above everything else happening in the world.

The great Italian tenor live-streamed a concert from an empty Duomo cathedral in Milan, accompanied by the cathedral’s organist Emanuele Vianelli.

On Sunday evening, the event trended at number one on YouTube, as millions came together to share the music. There were 2.8 million peak concurrent viewers, making it one of the biggest musical live stream performances of all-time and the largest simultaneous audience for a classical live stream in YouTube history.

After 24 hours, 28 million people had watched the concert.

Andrea Bocelli outside the Duomo cathedral
Andrea Bocelli outside the Duomo cathedral. Picture: Getty

Speaking after the concert, Bocelli said: “I am moved and delighted to have received such an overwhelming reaction, that has gone beyond our highest expectations.

“It was an immeasurable honour and privilege to lend my voice to the prayers of millions of people, gathered in a single embrace.”

Entitled ‘Music For Hope’, Bocelli’s concert featured sacred pieces from Rossini, Mascagni, Gounod and Franck, and the traditional spiritual ‘Amazing Grace’.

See the full programme of Andrea Bocelli's 'Music for Hope' concert >

Much of the world has been under COVID-19 lockdown for weeks. Friends and families have been separated, bustling communities quietened, and dedicated health-care and frontline workers exhausted in their efforts to keep us safe.

It feels like, more than ever, this is a time when we need the comfort, solace and togetherness music and art can bring.

And there has been an incredible outpouring of creativity from the world’s musicians – from solo living room concerts to incredible multi-tracked symphonies from orchestras in quarantine.

Andrea Bocelli in Duomo cathedral Milan
Andrea Bocelli in Duomo cathedral Milan. Picture: Decca Records / Luca Rossetti

Responses to Bocelli’s concert on social media testify to the power of the music and unity of the moment.

On Tuesday 14 April, Classic FM is featuring music from the concert throughout the day. After 10pm you can hear Bocelli’s performance of Franck’s Panis Angelicus on Smooth Classics with Margherita Taylor.