British-Italian soprano Carly Paoli has said an upcoming concert being hosted by a Vatican foundation will be “inclusive” as she feels the messages in music are something that everyone can relate to.
The classical singer will open the show, which is part of the International Meeting on Human Fraternity event being held on Saturday at St Peter’s Square in Rome.
The event, which is organised by the Fratelli Tutti Foundation in collaboration with St Peter’s Basilica, is to promote fraternity among global cultures and will include the signing of a document calling for a “commitment to global brotherhood”.
Ahead of the event, Paoli told the PA news agency that she feels the event symbolises that “we are all one”.
“The world feels such a gigantic place to us but, actually, in the grand scheme of things, it’s a very small space. And it’s that ripple effect, when something goes wrong it affects a lot of people,” she added.
“And I think a lot has happened over the last few years and we’re still all here and I think it’s a way to symbolise that if we put our minds and our hearts together we can come through anything, certainly try our best to.”
Asked about whether she feels the event is inclusive to groups that might not feel represented by the Catholic Church, such as the LGBT community, she said: “I’d like to feel like it’s an inclusive event, absolutely.
“I think it’s a kind of event that bridges over the gap, with artists performing tomorrow from lots of different cultures and backgrounds and faiths.
“And I think the humanitarian cause it’s supporting stretches out to so many different parts of the world, not just the Catholic regions, and I think that symbolises a lot.”
Earlier this year, Pope Francis branded laws criminalising homosexuality “unjust” and called on Catholic bishops supporting the laws to welcome LGBT people into the church.
He added that he felt “being homosexual is not a crime” but that it was “a sin”.
To open the concert, Paoli will perform Time For Mercy, a song specially written in 2016 to celebrate Pope Francis’s Jubilee Year Of Mercy and performed at the Roman Forum in the concert Music For Mercy which marked the occasion.
She will also perform the classic song Over The Rainbow to an audience which will include 30 Nobel Prize laureates and thousands of young people from around the world.
Other artists on the bill include Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, a children’s choir from Bologna and American singer Amii Stewart, best known for her hit single, Knock On Wood.
Reflecting on how she feels music can bring communities together, Paoli said: “Music is something that should be enjoyed by all and certainly the messages in the music, they express feelings that we can all relate to.
“Over The Rainbow, it’s like the ultimate (song of) hope but it means something different to each and every one, it can either make you feel joyful, or it can break your heart.
“A lot of different songs do that so, as singers and artists when we perform, we hope that we move people in some sort of way.”
Paoli, who was born in Mansfield to an Italian mother but now lives in Wiltshire, added that it is a “massive honour” to represent her home towns on the international stage.
“It’s just a massive honour, I could pinch myself every day. Not everybody gets to live the dream,” she said.
The pope was previously due to attend the event on Saturday but he is expected to sit it out following surgery to remove intestinal scar tissue and repair a hernia in his abdominal wall.
The concert will be able to be watched on Vatican TV on YouTube and Facebook on Saturday from 3pm GMT.