On the occasion of the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, famed Catholic singer Andrea Bocelli put on a free concert from the sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in France. Prior to the event, Bocelli released a video in which he spoke about his first time visiting Lourdes, as a child, before the singer expressed his fondness for the holy site.
The concert, which was offered at no charge to the attendees, commemorated the final apparition of Our Lady to St. Bernadette Soubirous, on July 16, 1858. This was the 18th and last time the Blessed Mother appeared to St. Bernadette, after which she never visited the site at Lourdes again. On this occasion, the government had fenced off the grotto, but kneeling outside the fence by the river bank, Bernadette was graced with a vision of Our Lady, whom she described as “more beautiful than ever.”
According to the website of the Sanctuary of Lourdes, Bocelli’s performance came as part of a “cycle of performances in Marian shrines around the world.” This free concert series features Bocelli, accompanied by the Choir and Orchestra of Pau Pays de Béarn from the city of Pau (40 km from the Sanctuary of Lourdes), with Italian maestro Carlo Bernini serving as conductor. It also features talented soloists such as Ukrainian violinist Anastasiya Petryshak and French soprano Clara Barbier Serrano.
While a professional recording of the July 16 concert has yet to be released, fans in attendance have already posted some great clips — the best of which was taken by Fly.74, which captured Bocelli singing the emotional “Pieta Signore,” a Baroque-era piece most commonly attributed to Alessandro Stradella. While the video quality is not great, the audio is crisp and allows Bocelli’s voice to shine:
Prior to the event, Bocelli released a video in which he shared a personal reflection on his fond sentiments towards the Lourdes Sanctuary. The esteemed Italian singer said:
“I was eight years old when I went to Lourdes with my mother and grandmother. The one time I was able to visit this holy place, I had the privilege of bathing in the waters of Lourdes.
“I am happy to return to Lourdes after so many years to be able to give thanks, through the gift I received from heaven, for all that is extraordinary that has been given to me, and to thank the Virgin Mary, to whom I have always been extremely devoted, and to meet all those believers who would like to be present at this event.”
“I also want to thank Pedro (Dançar Marketing’s president) with whom I have had the opportunity to collaborate on other occasions, and who shares with me a great and deep-rooted faith.
“I thank you and send my greetings and a virtual hug to all while waiting to meet you in Lourdes.”