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Andrea Bocelli says he ‘felt humiliated’ over Italy’s COVID-19 lockdown measures

‘I felt humiliated and offended,’ the 61-year-old Italian tenor said during a Monday conference in Italy’s Senate, according to BBC. ‘I could not leave the house even though I had committed no crime.’

Andrea Bocelli performs at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. Bocelli recently spoke out in opposition to Italy’s lockdown measures amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Andrea Bocelli performs at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. Bocelli recently spoke out in opposition to Italy’s lockdown measures amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Qiling Wang, Deseret News

Andrea Bocelli recently spoke out in opposition to Italy’s lockdown measures amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“I felt humiliated and offended,” the 61-year-old Italian tenor said during a Monday conference in Italy’s Senate, according to BBC. “I could not leave the house even though I had committed no crime.”

In his speech, delivered in Italian, the singer said he disobeyed lockdown rules. Italy’s strict nationwide lockdown began on March 9 and lasted for almost three months before gradually easing, according to The Local, an English-language news network in Europe.

“I did not think it was right or healthy to stay home at my age,” Bocelli said. “I am a certain age, and I need sun and vitamin D.”

Bocelli announced in May that he had tested positive for the virus in March, along with his wife and two sons. But in his recent speech, the tenor said he didn’t know anyone who was admitted to intensive care because of the virus and that he believed the outbreak had been exaggerated, BBC reported.

Although Italy’s lockdown measures have since eased, face masks remain mandatory on public transport and in shops, and social distancing of three feet is required in public, according to BBC.

In his speech, Bocelli said Italian citizens should be able to break these guidelines, The Local reported.

“Let’s refuse to follow this rule,” he said. “Let’s read books, move around, get to know each other, talk, dialogue.”

Bocelli, who has an 8-year-old daughter with his wife and manager, Veronica Berti, also criticized the Italian government’s approach to reopening schools, according to BBC.

Andrea Bocelli performs at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018.
Andrea Bocelli performs at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. Bocelli recently spoke out in opposition to Italy’s lockdown measures amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Qiling Wang, Deseret News

“It’s unthinkable that these children will have to go to school divided by a piece of plexiglass and hidden behind a mask,” he said. “It’s unthinkable that schools were closed so quickly, and with the same speed nightclubs were reopened, where young people go not to learn, but to disperse their brains.”

Bocelli’s recent comments provoked criticism from science experts, celebrities and public figures in Italy. On Tuesday, the hashtag #BocelliVergognati (Bocelli be ashamed of yourself) was trending on Twitter in Italy, according to The Local.

The tenor has since stated that his comments were “misunderstood,” BBC reported. The singer issued an apology on Wednesday in a Facebook video.

“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,” he said via Facebook Translation.

“It was not my intention to offend those who have been struck by COVID,” he continued, according to Yahoo Money. “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.”

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

Over the past months, Bocelli has been actively involved in COVID-19 relief, establishing a GoFundMe campaign to help hospitals and donating his blood to contribute to COVID-19 research, the Deseret News previously reported.

On Easter Sunday, Bocelli performed a “Music for Hope” recital, offering it as a prayer to the “wounded Earth,” according to the Deseret News. A week later, the tenor joined Lady Gaga’s “One World: Together at Home” — a virtual music festival that raised nearly $128 million for COVID-19 relief.