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Riccardo Muti will conduct Vatican concert for pope

First subscripticoncert for Chicago Symphony Orchestrled by Riccardo Muti Sympony Center 220 S. Michigan ave. Friday September 23 2011. (conducting

First subscription concert for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, led by Riccardo Muti, at Sympony Center, 220 S. Michigan ave. Friday, September 23, 2011. (conducting Music from Il Gattopardo by Nino Rota) | Rich Hein~Sun-Times

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Updated: June 8, 2012 8:15AM

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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