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Life Ball red ribbon celebration concert

The Life Ball celebrates its 20th anniversary on 19 May this year under the motto "Fight the Flames of Ignorance".

On the eve of the Life Ball the Wiener Burgtheater will, for the first time ever, present an exclusive gala concert featuring international opera stars, legendary singers, doyens of the Burgtheater as well as the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Net profits will go to the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) and ex President Bill Clinton will attend the concert to represent his organisation.

Apart from the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Louis Langrée and accompanied on the piano by Malcolm Martineau, classical artists Patricia Petibon, Bernarda Fink, Michael Schade and Florian Boesch, as well as soul and jazz legends Randy Crawford and Al Jarreau will perform for the cause.

Actresses Melanie Griffith, Sunnyi Melles and Gert Voss will read between the musical performances, while human rights activist and author Maya Angelou will recite her own personal poem.

A poetic journey forms the thread of the event. In keeping with its motto "United in Difference," the concert starts out with loneliness and exclusion to end with joie de vivre, humaneness and tolerance.

Following a meeting with Bill Clinton and Gery Keszler during an AIDS charity event Michael Schade and his wife Dee McKee had the idea to organise a gala concert on the eve of the Life Ball.

"The Clinton Foundation and the Life Ball not only raise funds for HIV-positive people and those suffering from AIDS, they also initiate important, sustainable changes in the fight against this disease.

"We couldn't but make our own contribution," said Michael Schade and Dee McKee who were able to convince famous opera stars from Austria and abroad to participate. The "Red Ribbon Celebration Concert – United in Difference" will be organised in cooperation with the Burgtheater and the friendly support of Novomatic.

Net proceeds of the event will be used to support a special Life Ball fundraising campaign on behalf of the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), aimed at reducing the number of new HIV infections among babies in Uganda and Zambia to a minimum by 2015.

Nowadays there are few mother-to-child HIV-transmissions in the western world, yet the developing countries, due to the lack of care for HIV-positive pregnant women, still show a transmission rate of 25 to 40 per cent.

ORF, OE3 and T-Mobile are participating in this major special campaign with the aim of raising 700,000 Euros. In addition to the Life Ball proceeds which AIDS LIFE has been using to support select CHAI project for many years, the additionally raised funds will be used to roll out programmes dedicated to the prevention of mother-child transmissions in Uganda and Zambia until 2015, subsequently to be handed over to the local governments to lastingly reduce the number of new HIV infections among newborns and to turn around the course of the epidemic.

"It is a special honour to present the Red Ribbon Celebration Concert with this top-notch cast," Life Ball organiser Gery Keszler stated happily. "We would like to thank all participating artists for their commitment. We will join forces to wave the flag of solidarity and make a significant contribution towards containing the AIDS epidemic in two severely affected countries."

The concert will be under the patronage of Claudia Schmied, Federal Minister of Education, Art and Culture, and Andreas Mailath-Pokorny, City Councillor for Culture and Science of the City of Vienna.

"Red Ribbon Celebration Concert – United in Difference"
Friday, 18 May 2012, concert starts at 7 pm
Burgtheater, Dr. Karl-Lueger-Ring 2, 1010 Vienna
Tickets: 30.- / 50.- / 80.- / 100.- / 150.- Euros

Advance sale starts on 28 March 2012, tickets are available at the following locations:
Box-office central of Bundestheater, 1010 Vienna, Operngasse 2
Burgtheater box-office, 1010 Vienna, Dr. Karl-Lueger-Ring 2
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8 am to 6 pm, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays 9 am to 12 am.

Ticket sale on the Internet at www.burgtheater.at or directly at www.culturall.com

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