MILAN – Pope Benedict XVI is expected to attend a concert at the La Scala opera house of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, conducted by Daniel Barenboim.
The June 1 concert is part of the pope’s Milan visit for the World Encounter of Families, which deals with issues relating to the family.
Organizers of the June 1-3 papal visit said recently that it will be the first time since becoming pontiff that Benedict, known for his fondness of music, attends a public concert.
Pope John Paul II was the first pope to attend a performance at La Scala, listening to Riccardo Muti conduct selections of Verdi in 1983.
Benedict also is set to attend a gathering of Roman Catholic youths at the San Siro stadium, pray at Milan’s Cathedral and greet the faithful in the piazza outside.
The pope also was to attend a concert Friday. Muti was to conduct a performance in the Vatican in honor of Benedict.
Muti was to lead Rome’s Teatro dell’Opera in selections from Vivaldi and Verdi in the concert, which was being offered to the pope by Italy’s president in honor of the seventh anniversary of his election to the pontificate.
Benedict is a classical music aficionado and himself plays the piano.
Muti left La Scala in 2005 amid bitter controversy over artistic and programming differences and is currently music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.