Bocelli set for Colosseum earthquake concert


June 18, 2010 Updated May 14, 2009 at 9:11 AM EDT

Italian opera star Andrea Bocelli will play the Colosseum in Rome later this month to an audience of just 380 to help rebuild the conservatory in earthquake-stricken L'Aquila.

Tickets to the May 25 event are going for 1,000 euros (1,350 dollars), with businesses in the capital and elsewhere in Italy being invited to buy lots of 10, said a spokesman for promotor Four One Music and Events.

"We are anxious, given the high prices, but we believe we will manage to sell all the tickets, because it is a good cause," he told AFP on Thursday.

Deputy Mayor Mauro Cutrufo said the audience is being kept small "because we want to preserve the Colosseum" -- inaugurated in 80 AD with seating for 50,000 spectators, but ruined over the centuries in part by by earthquakes.

When he ends his performance, Bocelli, 50, who has been blind since 12, will present the concert proceeds to Culture Minister Sandro Bondi to spend on restoring L'Aquila's conservatory.

The medieval city was the epicentre of the April 6 earthquake in central Italy's Abruzzo region that left 298 dead and 65,000 homeless.

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