ROME, 17 October 2002 -- A
benefit concert featuring world famous Italian tenor Luciano
Pavarotti aimed at rallying support for the battle against world
hunger raised more than US $220 000, the UN Food and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) said on Thursday.
"We are delighted the concert was such a
success and are grateful to Maestro Pavarotti, the Monaco
authorities and Prince Albert, patron of the event. The concert
was sold out and thanks to the logistical and financial support
provided by our partners, every penny of the ticket proceeds
will be ploughed directly into small-scale projects to improve
the lives of some of the world's neediest
communities," said FAO's Kay Killingsworth, adding
that donations from individuals were still coming in.
Pavarotti, nominated UN Peace Messenger by Kofi Annan
in 1998, is actively involved in supporting the work of several
United Nations agencies and has staged many charity concerts
around the world.
Pavarotti supports FAO, generously donating his time and lending
his voice to the fight against hunger, it keeps the spotlight on
what we are striving for," Killingsworth added.
The TeleFood Pavarotti concert, supported
by the Principality of Monaco and dedicated to FAO and its
TeleFood campaign, was held in Monaco's Grimaldi Forum on
Pavarotti, who turned 67 on
the evening of the concert, performed a selection of
Verdi's arias, with six opera singers. An enthusiastic
crowd of 1,800, including Princes Ranieri and Albert of Monaco,
the President of the Republic of Slovakia, Rudolf Schuster and
FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf, gave the Maestro a standing
ovation and sang him "Happy Birthday" in
FAO, the UN's largest
specialized agency, plays a leading role in the fight to reduce
the number of under-nourished people in the world - a number now
estimated at more than 800 million.
Realizing that ending hunger cannot be achieved by
governments alone, initiatives like TeleFood - an annual
campaign of broadcasts and concerts - allow the Organization to
reach a wider audience with its message of "Food for
TeleFood concerts and other
events provide resources for hundreds of grass-roots,
hunger-fighting projects around the world. For example, fruit
growers in Armenia, women's groups in Bolivia, farming
families in Cambodia, fish smokers in Mali and spice growers in
Nepal have all benefited from TeleFood initiatives.
The concert, "Pavarotti canta
Verdi", featuring the Montecarlo Opera Chorus and the
Italian Symphony Orchestra directed by Leone Magiera, is due to
be broadcast on Italian State television network RAI 2 on 15
November. The concert will later be made available worldwide to
broadcasters who participate in the TeleFood campaign.