Artists, Entertainers Bring Hope, Laughter

    10 April 2020

    On Easter Sunday, Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli will perform from Milan's empty Duomo cathedral. He will be accompanied only by the cathedral's organist, Emanuele Vianelli.

    The concert can be seen live on Bocelli's YouTube channel at 1700 UTC. The famous singer said, "I believe in the Christian Easter, a universal symbol of rebirth that everyone – whether they are believers or not – truly needs right now."

    Bocelli's concert is one example of a worldwide movement. Artists and entertainers are finding ways to bring happiness to people during the worldwide coronavirus outbreak.

    FILE - Singer Andrea Bocelli performs "I Just Called To Say I Love You" during the taping of "Stevie Wonder: Songs In The Key Of Life - An All-Star Grammy Salute" concert at Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 10, 2015.

    Music concerts

    Another example is Dubioza Kolektiv, Bosnia's most popular band. It invites its audience to "stay connected" during a weekly "Quarantine Show" online.

    Each Monday, tens of thousands of people watch the rock group perform from their homes in Bosnia, Croatia and Slovenia.

    Brano Jakupovic is Dubioza Kolektiv's keyboardist. "The internet has remained the only way for us to communicate and play music," he told Reuters. Jakupovic added, "It is important that people enjoy the concert but also that they communicate via chats, write to each other and feel for the moment the same way as they felt before corona."

    In Hungary, the MAV Symphony Orchestra is taking its music to the streets of Budapest.

    The orchestra, founded by Hungarian railway company MAV, is 75 years old this year. It is one of the country's leading classical groups.

    After World War II ended, the MAV Symphony Orchestra would travel around the country by train and perform.

    Unable to hold concerts now because of the nationwide lockdown, musicians from the orchestra drive around in cars and play past performances over loudspeakers.

    Gyorgy Lendvai is the leader of the orchestra. "The situation is not as bad (as after World War II) but people are in lockdown and we don't know for how long ... so we need to cheer them up," Lendvai said.

    "This is great, we love it ... the music is excellent," said Gyorgy Antaloczy, waiving from the balcony of his house. He is over 70 and stays at home with his wife.


    In Berlin, a group of clowns has taken to performing outside homes for older people. The clowns, at a safe distance from each other, perform while people watch from windows or balconies.

    "We don't want to leave them alone," said Tanja Selmer, also known as Tiffy the Clown. Selmer added, "We'll go in front of the balcony ... they can see us and we can bring them closer despite the distance."

    Back in Milan, Mayor Giuseppe Sala said, "This year, Easter will be very different for all of us..." He said Bocelli's voice will be the hug that warms "the heart of Milan, Italy and the world."

    I'm John Russell.

    John Russell adapted this story from several Reuters reports. Hai Do was the editor.


    Words in This Story

    accompany -- v. to play music with (someone who is singing or playing the main tune) : to perform an accompaniment for (someone)

    organist – n. a person who plays an organ

    outbreak -- n. a sudden start or increase of fighting or disease

    keyboardist -- n. a person who plays the keyboard

    loudspeaker – n. a device that is used to make sound (such as music or a person's voice) louder and to send it out so that many people can hear it in a public space

    balcony -- n. a raised platform that is connected to the side of a building and surrounded by a low wall or railing