‘Not A Concert, But An Occasion To Pray’: Andrea Bocelli Talks Easter Sunday Duomo Performance

Andrea Bocelli on stage at The SSE Hydro
Roberto Ricciuti/Redferns
– Andrea Bocelli on stage at The SSE Hydro
The performance took place, Oct. 20, 2019 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Andrea Bocelli will live stream a solo performance from the historic cathedral of Milan, Italy, on his YouTube channel on Easter Sunday, April 12.
The world-renowned music icon will perform to an almost empty Duomo, as government restrictions on public life preclude an audience from witnessing what will undoubtedly be a magnificent acoustic experience. 
He will only be accompanied by cathedral organist, Emanuele Vianelli.
Bocelli found the time to answer a few questions ahead of this singular performance, which happens by invitation of the city of Milan, and will feature some of the tenor’s most “sacred repertoire.”

Supermoon at Il Duomo di Milano.
Carlo Borlenghi/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
– Supermoon at Il Duomo di Milano.
The historic cathedral will become Andrea Bocelli

Pollstar: How do you prepare the Duomo for the concert? 

Andrea Bocelli: The Cathedral will be almost empty, the technical personnel reduced to the bare minimum. I will be behind the altar, next to the organ.
On my side, all preparation will be vocal: I keep on studying, as usual, so that my voice will be at its best.
Will you need a PA system or will microphones for the broadcast suffice?
There will be no PA system, as there will be no audience in the Cathedral. There will only be recording equipment for the broadcast. 
During the course of my career I had the opportunity of singing almost everywhere in the world, many times in very complex settings, both from a logistical and acoustic point of view. Luckily I can rely on an excellent team that always guarantees the quality needed in order that my audience enjoy the moment to the fullest. 
How many of your songs have been rearranged for the organ? Can you reveal a bit of your setlist?
I will present a selection of my sacred repertoire: two hymns to the Holy Mary, to which I am particularly attached, Gounod’s “Ave Maria” and Mascagni’s “Santa Maria”, and “Panis Angelicus” composed by César Franck and based on the sacred verses written by Saint Thomas Aquinas. 
I also inserted a more ‘eccentric’ piece: Rossini’s “Domine Deus”, the sound of which represents a different type of devotion, albeit equally genuine.
I confirm that some ad hoc arrangements were prepared by Emanuele Vianelli, the organist who will play in the Duomo. 
Is this the first time you’re performing alongside an organ only?
It happened many times. I grew up in the church, the notes of the small organ of San Leonardo’s Church in Lajatico (the small village where I was born) have surely contributed to draw me in to the world of music.
For me, the Church is the house of the Lord, and I am always very happy to add my voice to the voices of the other believers, whenever possible. Whether you have an organ, or an orchestra, it doesn’t matter. It is a privilege and a duty to be a testimony of the Christian faith. Even more so in light of what we are living now: a dramatic crisis, which can however help us reflect, and offer us the occasion to start again with a new perspective by listening to the world we live in, the sky and our conscience. 
It will surely feel a bit weird to be performing in an empty cathedral, but it must also feel epic knowing that you will have the whole cathedral to yourself.
In spite of appearances we will be a large connected crowd; we will be unified by faith, and we will all be bound by beauty, regardless of faith or belief. It will not be a concert, but an occasion to pray together though music. 
I immediately answered “yes” with joy, when the Mayor of Milan and the Curia invited me to sing. I am very happy to be able to contribute, as many of my colleagues are doing all over the world, and to be of some use, offering a moment of serenity, optimism and reflection… 
Because through this virus the world gave us a warning. And I hope so much that we will learn the lesson and treasure it, taking this opportunity to change our attitude towards life.
Thank you very much for taking the time.

How Andrea Bocelli Went To Numero Uno
– How Andrea Bocelli Went To Numero Uno