Pope Benedict to attend La Scala Beethoven concert

May 4, 2012
In this photo release by Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI is greeted by Cardinal Angelo Scola during his visit at Rome's Polyclinic Agostino Gemelli Hospital, Thursday, May 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Osservatore Romano, ho)

MILAN (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI will attend a concert at the La Scala opera house of Beethoven's Ninth symphony conducted by Daniel Barenboim.

The June 1 concert is part of the pope's Milan visit for the World Encounter of Families, which deals with issues relating to the family.

Organizers of the June 1-3 papal visit said Friday it will be the first time since becoming pontiff that Benedict, known for his fondness of music, attends a concert in a public theater. He frequently attends concerts inside the Vatican auditorium that are performed in his honor by visiting orchestras.

Pope John Paul II was the first pope to attend a performance at La Scala, listening to Riccardo Muti conduct selections of Verdi in 1983.

Benedict will also attend a gathering of Roman Catholic youths at the San Siro stadium, pray at Milan's Cathedral and greet the faithful in the piazza outside.