Organised by the Holy See Study Mission, head by Mgr Jozic, the Hong Kong diocese and the Macau diocese, the event drew at least 1,200 people who saw the performance of young talents from the United States, Italy, and Croatia. For Card John Tong, the concert helps to prepare for Christmas.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – The Holy See Study Mission in Hong Kong, which focuses on the Church in China, and the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception yesterday hosted a concert to celebrate Pope Francis' Birthday (慶祝教宗方濟各八十華誕音樂會) at Hong Kong’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Some 1,200 people attended the event to attend. Among the sponsors there was also the diocese of Macao, where the concert was performed two days earlier.
The Holy See Study Mission, which is led by Mgr Ante Jozic, invited David Damiani to be the musical director and conductor of the concert.
Damiani studied singing, bass, composition and conducting at the conservatories of Pesaro, Parma and Bologna. He was assistant conductor to Gustav Kuhn at the Arena Sferisterio in Macerata and has received many invitations from different opera houses and concert halls in Italy and elsewhere in Europe.
In presenting the evening, Mgr Jozic said that just 80 years ago, "a child, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, came into the world, innocent and unaware that one day he would lead the Catholic Church from the smallest country in the world: the Vatican.”
“This great religious leader continues to preach and inspire many, trying to make this world a better place for each and everyone, especially for those who are poor, marginalised and without freedom."
The concert included several special guests. One of them was soprano Olga Makarina, from the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Born in Archangel, Russia, she has won several important awards like the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, the Musicians Emergency Fund and the Liederkranz Competition.
Another guest was organist Francesca Ajossa, a 17-year-old prodigy from Cagliari (Italy). She was admitted to the International Bach Academy for Organ in 2015, and has recently taken 2nd prize in the National Organ Competition Premio Abbado as the youngest winner. She is also one of eight young organists selected for the Young Talents Class at the Haarlem Organ Academy 2016.
Hailing from Mgr Jozic’s country of Croatia, the Klapa Mriza choir performed A cappella music from Croatia’s southern coastal region of Dalmatia.
Card John Tong spoke about the young talents who performed at the concert. "His Holiness taught us to use the talents we have,” he said. They “are the gifts God gave us. The young artists who are here with us are following his preaching and are helping us, not only to celebrate his birthday, but also to prepare for the birth of our saviour Jesus Christ, who in a few days will be among us."