Andrea Bocelli to perform Easter concert at empty Duomo Cathedral in Milan

Andrea Bocelli will perform an Easter concert in Milan’s empty Duomo Cathedral that will be live-streamed on YouTube as the coronavirus will keep millions out of churches on the holiday.

“I believe in the strength of praying together,” Bocelli said in a statement, according to Variety. “I believe in the Christian Easter, a universal symbol of rebirth that everyone – whether they are believers or not – truly needs right now."

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The opera legend will be accompanied by organist Emanuele Vianelli during his solo “Music for Hope” concert, which will include traditional pieces such as “Ave Maria,” Mascagni’s “Sancta Maria” and “Amazing Grace.”

Milan’s mayor, Giuseppe Sala, said he was happy Bocelli had accepted the city’s invitation to perform.

“This year, Easter will be very different for all of us," Sala said, according to Classic FM. "The joyous serenity that usually comes with this day has been greatly troubled by the pandemic we are experiencing. 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.”

Italy has been hit especially hard by the pandemic, with more than 135,000 cases and more than 17,000 deaths with a population less than a fifth of the United States.

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The concert will be exclusively available on Bocelli’s YouTube page at 7 p.m. Sunday in Milan (1 p.m. ET).

Bocelli won’t take a fee for the performance and separately his foundation is raising money to get personal protective equipment to hospitals, according to Variety.

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