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Pope Benedict XVI praises La Scala concert in Milan

June 01, 2012|By Jamie Wetherbe
  • Daniel Dal Zennaro/AFP/Getty Images
Daniel Dal Zennaro/AFP/Getty Images (m4yjgdpd20120601160842/600 )

Pope Benedict XVI joined a standing ovation Friday during a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at Milan's La Scala theater.

Following a fiery performance of "Ode to Joy," the 85-year-old pontiff made his way to the stage to address the crowd, according to the Associated Press.

"It is not a distinctly Christian joy of which Beethoven sings, rather of the joy of coexistence of the people, victory over egoism," the pope said.

He then thanked conductor Daniel Barenboim for his musical selection, saying, "It permits us to launch a message with the music that affirms the fundamental value of solidarity, of fraternity and of peace."

The pontiff, who is in Milan for three days, has been greeted by thousand of cheering supporters -- a likely welcome refuge following the recent scandal involving the pope's leaked personal letters.

Benedict, known as a classical music buff and an accomplished pianist, often attends shows inside the Vatican auditorium, but hasn’t attended a public performance since becoming pontiff in 2005. That changed recently, when he attended a performance of Vivaldi and Verdi in Rome's Teatro dell'Opera.

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