Lady Gaga helped open the 2015 European Games last week with an operatic solo performance of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Seated behind a piano adorned with flowers, the singer brought the massive crowd at Baku, Azerbaijan’s Olympic Stadium to a reverent hush.
Gaga stayed faithful to the original, the title track from Lennon’s 1971 LP (and Number Three on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time). But she did add a soulful coda to the climax, belting with a wide vibrato. “What an honor to have a few moments with the world watching,” she tweeted before taking the stage. “Could you imagine. What would you say?”
The inaugural European Games kicked off June 12th and will conclude on the 28th. The event will feature 6,000 athletes – from 50 of Europe’s National Olympic Committees – competing in 20 total sports, including cycling, badminton, table tennis, beach soccer and archery.
Last week, Gaga and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo teamed to co-write an op-ed urging passing of the “Enough Is Enough” bill, which has already helped combat sexual assault on New York’s public college campuses. “But without changing New York’s laws, private colleges don’t have to live up to the same standard,” they wrote. “That’s why the state legislature must pass the proposed bill. Without it, students at private institutions are more likely to be left at risk.
“We have a responsibility to the young men and women of this country to stand up against sexual violence everywhere,” they continued. “Together, we must create the scaffolding necessary to foster the mental, emotional and physical health of all young people.”