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Andrea Bocelli Sings for Pope

August 3, 1999 GMT

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (AP) _ Best-selling tenor Andrea Bocelli had a tough audition last week: He sang in front of the pope.

The Italian singer _ whose works were No. 1 and 3 last week on opera’s Top 10 charts _ sang for John Paul II on Friday at the pope’s summer palace outside Rome, Italy’s ANSA news service said Monday.

John Paul appeared pleased with Bocelli’s interpretation of the Holy Year hymn, giving the tenor a pat on the head after the private performance, the report said.

The hymn of the 2000 Holy Year will be the anthem of church celebrations marking Christianity’s third millennium. It’s expected to be performed publicly for the first time when the pope inaugurates the Holy Year on Dec. 24.

Bocelli, whose works include a duet with pop star Celine Dion, has performed previously before the pope and President Clinton.