Muti to conduct Vivaldi, Verdi concert for Pope

Associated Press
Pope Benedict XVI is greeted by faithful during his visit to Rome's Polyclinic Agostino Gemelli Hospital, Thursday, May 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
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Pope Benedict XVI is greeted by faithful during his visit to Rome's Polyclinic Agostino Gemelli Hospital, Thursday, May 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Riccardo Muti will be conducting a concert in the Vatican in honor of Pope Benedict XVI.

He's the second big-name maestro to be conducting for the pope this spring. La Scala opera house announced last week that Daniel Barenboim would conduct Beethoven's Ninth symphony when the pope visits Milan on June 1.

According to a statement on his website Sunday, Muti will lead Rome's Teatro dell'Opera in selections from Vivaldi and Verdi in the May 11 concert, which is 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.

It's not the first time Muti will conduct for a pope: He conducted selections of Verdi in 1983 when Pope John Paul II became the first pontiff to attend a performance at La Scala.

Muti left La Scala in 2005 amid bitter controversy over artistic and programming differences and is currently music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

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