Pope Benedict XVI has long been a classical music fan and in the next few weeks, he will take time out from his schedule to attend two classical concerts.
Riccardo Muti is set to lead a concert at the Vatican this week for the pope in honor of the seventh anniversary of the pontiff's election.
The Italian conductor is expected to lead Rome's Teatro dell'Opera on Friday, with music by Vivaldi and Verdi. Muti's website states that the concert will be broadcast live on the Italian television channel RAI 5.
Pope Benedict XVI will attend another classical concert on June 1 at La Scala opera house in Milan. The pope will attend a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony conducted by Daniel Barenboim. (The Associated Press reported that Muti performed for Pope John Paul II in 1983 at La Scala.)
The pope is a classical-music buff and even plays the piano. But as reported by the AP, he has not attended a public concert since becoming pontiff in 2005. He is said to regularly attend concerts inside the Vatican auditorium. The German-born pope's favorite composers include Mozart and Bach, who were born in what are now Austria and Germany, respectively.
Muti was the music director of La Scala for many years but resigned in 2005 following clashes with musicians and management. He currently serves as music director of the Chicago Symphony.
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