"Pavarotti and Friends" concert raises over 2 million euro for Angolan refugees

The star-studded event raises some 1.1 million euro in ticket sales and 1 million euro in private donations from viewers in Italy. Funds will go to projects to help Angolan refugees in Zambia.

Singing for a good cause &; Maestro Pavarotti on stage with guests James Brown, Zucchero, Andrea Bocelli, Elisa and Sting.   © D.Venturelli

ROME, May 29 (UNHCR) - This year's "Pavarotti and Friends" concert has already raised more than 2 million euro for Angolan refugees in Zambia, almost half of which came from viewers in Italy. This tops donations from last year's charity concert.

The concert, held on Tuesday evening in Modena, Italy, saw Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti performing duets with guests like Lou Reed, James Brown, Andrea Bocelli, Sting and Grace Jones. They were accompanied by the 70-strong Orchestra Sinfonica Italiana, and joined by the Italian children's choir, Ars Canto Giuseppe Verdi, singing alongside 30 children from Angolan refugee camps in Zambia.

By the end of the concert, a total of 18,000 private donations amounting to about 1 million euro had been received from television viewers as well as members of the Modena audience. This is a big increase compared to last year's concert, which raised 1.3 billion lire, or about 700,000 euro, during the evening. In addition, first estimates on this year's ticket sales stand at around 1.1 million euro, also an increase from last year.

"The extraordinary generosity of the Italian donors, which once again went beyond expectations and confirmed the Italians as the top world-wide private donors to UNHCR, will allow us to implement important projects for Angolan refugees in Zambia in the sectors of water, health and education," said UNHCR in a press release Wednesday.

The refugee agency also extended special thanks to Pavarotti, who is United Nations Messenger of Peace. "UNHCR is particularly grateful to Maestro Luciano Pavarotti, who, despite the recent death of his father, decided to continue with this important initiative, thus renewing his personal commitment to refugees," added the statement.

High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers presenting UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Giorgio Armani with the UN passport.  © D.Venturelli

During the concert, High Commissioner Ruud Lubbers appointed Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani as UNHCR's latest Goodwill Ambassador by presenting him with a UN passport and the UNHCR diamond pin.

The "Pavarotti and Friends" concert is part of a broader UNHCR effort for Angolan refugees. It will continue with a fundraising campaign through press ads and TV spots. One of the TV spots, which features the Italian national football team, was launched yesterday during the concert and will be broadcast during the period of the 2002 Football World Cup.