Tenor Andrea Bocelli changes his tune, apologizes for COVID-19 comments

/ 02:51 PM July 30, 2020
Andrea Bocelli

Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli. Image: Reuters/Alex Fraser/File Photo

Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli apologized on Wednesday, July 29, for saying he was “humiliated” by the government’s handling of the coronavirus lockdown, comments that angered many and set off a storm of criticism on social media.

In a video posted on his Facebook page, Bocelli asked forgiveness for any suffering, saying “it was not my intention to offend those who have been struck by COVID”.


Un messaggio da Andrea…


🇮🇹Da sempre mi sono speso per combattere la sofferenza e l’ho fatto anche recentemente con l’avvento di questa sciagurata pandemia, come molti sanno.Perciò se il mio intervento al Senato ha generato sofferenza, di questo io chiedo sinceramente scusa, perché proprio non era nelle mie intenzioni. Così come nelle mie intenzioni non era di offendere chi dal Covid è stato colpito.Del resto, come sapete, la mia famiglia non è stata risparmiata dal virus: siamo stati tutti quanti contagiati e tutti abbiamo temuto il peggio; perché nessuno può conoscere l’andamento di una malattia come questa, che è ancora oggi sconosciuta. Lo scopo del mio intervento al Senato era quello di sperare in un prossimo futuro in cui i bambini soprattutto, possano ritrovare la normalità, possano sperare di vivere “da bambini”, giocando tra loro, abbracciandosi, come devono fare i bambini per poter crescere sani e sereni.Questo solo era il senso del mio intervento ed a tutti quelli che a causa del modo in cui mi sono espresso – sicuramente non il più felice – e dalle mie parole hanno trovato ragioni per sentirsi offesi o hanno sofferto per quello che ho detto, a loro chiedo sinceramente scusa, perché le mie intenzioni erano tutt’altre, erano esattamente il contrario. Andrea_________________________ ___________ ___ _____ _ __________________ ____🇬🇧I have always endeavored to fight suffering and did so also with the arrival of this unfortunate pandemic, as many of you know.Therefore, if my speech to the Italian Senate caused suffering, I wish to extend my sincere apologies, because my intention could not have been more different. Just as it was not my intention to offend those who have been struck by COVID.In fact, my family was not spared by the virus: we all caught it and we all feared for the worst, because no one can know the course a disease such as this will take, which is still partially unknown to us. The intent of my speech to the Italian Senate was to send a message of hope for a near future in which – children first and foremost – can find again a sense of normality and can hope to live “as children”, playing with and hugging one another, as they should at their age, and to be able to grow up happy and healthy. This, and this alone, was the meaning I intended to convey with my speech. To all those people who felt offended or suffered because of how I expressed myself – undoubtedly not in the best possible way – and the words I used, I ask that they accept my sincerest apologies, as my intention was quite the opposite. Andrea

Posted by Andrea Bocelli on Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Speaking at the Senate on Monday, July 27, Bocelli said he believed the situation could not have been as serious as authorities were saying because he did not know anyone who had to go into intensive care. He urged people to disobey rules still in place.

Health officials criticized him and negative reaction flared on social media, with a Twitter hashtag #BocelliVergognati (Shame on you, Bocelli) going viral.

“Sing and shut up!” one person tweeted, adding that the blind superstar was fortunate enough to spend the lockdown “in your massive villa and not have anyone in your family die.”

More than 35,000 Italians have died from the coronavirus.

One tweet urged Italy’s artists’ copyright group to strip Bocelli of royalties and another said his comments were “Bullsh*t whether you are from the right or the left”. A club in a town in Bocelli’s native Tuscany yanked one of his most famous songs from its jukebox.


Bocelli’s original comments surprised many because he was a symbol of national unity at the height of the lockdown on Easter Sunday when he sang in an empty Milan cathedral in a live-streamed solo performance called Music for Hope.

“To all those people who felt offended or suffered because of how I expressed myself — undoubtedly not in the best possible way — and the words I used, I ask that they accept my sincerest apologies, as my intention was quite the opposite,” he said in his apology. NVG


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