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Pavarotti Holds Benefit for Iraqis

May 28, 2003

MODENA, Italy (AP) _ Luciano Pavarotti has a habit of inviting some friends to spend the evening in song with him. This year’s gang included Ricky Martin, Bono, Queen, Eric Clapton, Andrea Bocelli and Liza Minnelli, all belting out tunes to help Iraqi refugees.

A decade ago, the opera singer began ``Pavarotti and Friends,″ an annual benefit concert in his hometown of Modena, and the latest edition on Tuesday night was organized to help the United Nations deal with the humanitarian emergency in Iraq.

Besides proceeds from ticket sales, money was also pledged by viewers of the event, which was broadcast in Italy and several other countries.

Bono, teamed with Pavarotti, sang a version of ``Ave Maria,″ substituting the Latin words with English, beginning the song with ``where is the justice″ in the world. Pavarotti stuck to the Latin prayer words.

Minnelli broke her right kneecap when she tripped in a hotel in Bologna on Sunday. In a television hookup during the concert, she performed a few bars from the musical ``Cabaret.″

``What good is sitting alone in your room?″ Minnelli sang, surrounded by hospital staff and family as she sat with her right leg in a full cast stretched out before her in an Italian hospital where she was scheduled to have surgery.

``I’m proud to be a part of it any way I can,″ Minnelli said of the benefit concert.

Nearly a decade ago, Pavarotti and Bono teamed up in a benefit concert for children in Bosnia after the war there.

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