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Israeli, Palestinian officials sit together at tango concert

January 02, 2007|From the Associated Press

BUENOS AIRES — Israeli and Palestinian ambassadors sat side by side in the final hours of 2006 in a show of unity at a concert led by the renowned Argentine-born conductor Daniel Barenboim, a prominent advocate for peace in the Middle East.

On Sunday night, Barenboim departed from his usual repertoire of classical music, and instead focused on Buenos Aires' signature genre: tango.

The audience cheered as Barenboim directed the Buenos Aires Philharmonic Orchestra through tango classics such as "El dia que me quieras" (The Day You Love Me), "Mi Buenos Aires querido" (My Beloved Buenos Aires), and "Cuesta abajo" (Going Downhill).

About 10,000 people attended the event, gathering at the foot of the city's famed obelisk, authorities said.

Barenboim, conductor of the Berlin Staatsoper opera house and a former director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, was born in Argentina and holds Israeli citizenship. He is also a guest conductor at La Scala opera house in Milan.

Barenboim has been recognized for fostering tolerance by bringing together Israeli and Arab musicians.

Ambassadors Rafael Eldad of Israel and Farid Suwwan of the Palestinian Authority sat in the front row at the concert, along with the Buenos Aires regional governor, Jorge Telerman.

Barenboim dismissed the idea that a tango concert might be a strange choice.

"I'm happy with this repertoire of tangos since I prefer a concert of music that can be widely understood," he said.

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