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11 June 2021, 20:54 | Updated: 12 June 2021, 10:27
Watch the Italian tenor wrap his vocal cords around Puccini’s great aria, in a spectacular finale for the Euros 2020 opening ceremony.
The star Italian singer sang the much-loved aria in a glorious operatic finale to the ceremony. ‘Nessun dorma’ has been a sports and pop culture hit, since Luciano Pavarotti made it widely known after performing it at the 1990 World Cup.
When news of his performance was announced, Bocelli said: “It will be a pleasure and an honour to be able to offer my voice at the opening ceremony of UEFA Euro 2020, in the spotlight of the Olympic Stadium in Rome.
“It will also be a precious opportunity to send a strong message of hope and positivity. That Vincerò (I will win), underlined by the high register and ideally sung by all 24 national teams involved, will also serve as a wish for everyone in the world, overcoming difficulties and tackling challenges in their own games: in other words, always winning.”
As the final live act in the ceremony, Bocelli performed on the field of play while 24 helium balloons simultaneously formed a single bunch as a symbol of unity and spirit. As they rose up, a burst of colourful pyro effects took over the entire stadium roof.
The live ceremony then transitioned into a virtual performance for the millions watching from home to enjoy. It was themed around a real-life performance of the official tournament song, ‘We Are the People’, by Martin Garrix, Bono and The Edge.
Described as a “solemn yet festive” celebration, the ceremony recognised the difficulties of the past year, while using the power and tradition of great music to unite.
Andrea Bocelli is an internationally beloved operatic tenor, and classical-crossover artist.
Since 1994, Bocelli has recorded 16 solo albums of both pop and classical music and nine complete operas, and has sold over 85 million records worldwide. His poignant concert from an empty Milan cathedral last year broke records to become the biggest classical live stream in YouTube history.
Bocelli has sung for Queens, Popes and Prime Ministers all around the world, and was made a Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in 2006.
The aria he sang at the Euros, ‘Nessun dorma’, is from the opera Turandot and is one of the most famous arias of all time. Its final lyric, ‘Vincerò’ (I will win) has made it a fitting choice for sporting events.
Elsewhere at the ceremony, 12 aerial drummers performed above the stadium stands, while a cast of dancers controlled 24 balloons sporting the colours of the flags of the 24 participating teams.
Plus, the Italian State police ensemble (Banda Musicale della Polizia di Stato), which has represented Italy in recent years with concerts around the world, performed wearing the Historical Uniform.
In the UK, ITV and the BBC are broadcasting the ceremony and all matches. The first match will take place between Italy and Turkey on Friday 11 June at 8pm BST.
The UEFA Euro Opening Ceremony will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer.