In Barcelona, Bocelli‘s first concert for a trip in "The Great Mystery," the rediscovery of the family
"This is not a worldly concert, but a moment of prayer," said the tenor Andrea Bocelli to Cardinal Lluís Martínez Sistach, Archbishop of Barcelona, as he greeted him on his arrival at the Sagrada Familia for the concert on Thursday, May 28th. Spain is the first step of the project "The Great Mystery: The Gospel of the Family, school of humanity for our times," in which the tenor has the leading role at concerts designed to celebrate the beauty of the family in basilicas and cathedrals around the world, including during the upcoming events in Philadelphia (next September‘s World Meeting of Families), Bethlehem (at Christmas), and Krakow in 2016.
Accompanied by the Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès with the Polyphonic Choir Puig-reig, under the direction of Maestro Marcello Rota, and by the young Ukrainian violinist Anastasiya Petryshak, Bocelli performed a musical repertoire symbolizing the journey between the religious and human dimensions of love. "We are here to talk about the beauty of the Christian family," said Cardinal Sistach as he opened the evening, which was attended by three thousand people. The Cardinal recalled Adam and Eve, the "family‘s foundation." The Christian families are "domestic churches"—he explained—because they take as their "model Nazareth: Mary and Joseph, who overcame so many difficulties; but what happened in Nazareth—he stressed—can happen to us. Of course, we can share pleasant moments, but only Jesus gives us true love." The love of an authentic family "does not end in the couple, but it must give life to children; so the spouses give themselves to each other and to others as well." After recalling the "keywords" suggested by Pope Francis, "please, sorry and thank you," Card. Sistach went on to laud the family as the "motor of the world and of history, and of the relations between families in the Christian communities." The Archbishop then highlighted the role of grandparents, who are "fathers and mothers twice," the fact that "in the minds of young people, love and sexuality are not always connected," and the need to receive the "broken families," because "many married couples are unable to become communities of life and love." As the light filtered through the blue and green stained-glass rosettes and left its delicate reflection on the shapely and fluted columns of Gaudi‘s temple, the music of the "Hallelujah" from Handel‘s "Messiah," Schubert‘s Ave Maria and that of Caccini reverberated. "Both the family and music have harmony. If we all made noise, Bocelli could not sing now; likewise, in the family, listening, silence and mutual respect are important," observed Carlos and Isabel Pascual, a couple from Barcelona, who belong to the Franciscans of Mary. "When we were born, this basilica was under construction, we were present when Benedict XVI consecrated it in 2010, and it‘s nice to be here now celebrating the sense of family, which belongs to the history of mankind all throughout time." "Today, witnessing to the faith is difficult," said the couple, who attended the Master in Science of Marriage and Family at the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family and, in summer, will give a course for other families. "It is a constant challenge, because the role of the family is beyond any religion and regards humanity itself," highlighted Isabel and Carlos, while the music of "Va pensiero" from Verdi‘s Nabucco resonated in the church. Bocelli, engaged in various charitable initiatives with the Foundation that bears his name and operates mainly in Haiti, offered an entire evening of outstanding performances to the large audience, including "Ombra mai fu" from Handel‘s Xerxes, "Gloria to you" from Lécot‘s Hymn of the Jubilee, and "The Prayer" by David Foster, which synthesized the spirit of "The Great Mystery."