Opening to the notes of The Gladiator soundtrack, the charity evening of May 25th organized by Andrea Bocelli and Javier Zanetti was set under the night sky of the Open Air Theatre, an outdoor arena at the Experience Area, as the Expo Milan area is now known. Under a sky full of stars, like those that graced the stage of the Bocelli and Zanetti Night, the benefit was presented by Michelle Hunziker. Staged with the support of Pirelli in aid of the "Educating a better world" project, the initiative was created by the Andrea Bocelli Foundation and Javier Zanetti’s PUPI Onlus, which teamed up to raise funds for the education of children in South and Central America.
"The idea was born a year ago over coffee – said Zanetti – when Andrea and I discovered we had a few things in common: a passion for the Inter soccer team and the idea that we can do much for the education of underprivileged children." Thus, as the former Inter captain and the world famous tenor invites the audience to send a text message of solidarity in order to provide education for 500 children in Buenos Aires and more than 1,700 students in Haiti, international stars from the world of sports and music illuminate the stage.
The event almost creates the atmosphere of a cinema, evoking the title of Bocelli’s latest album. After the excerpt from The Gladiator, the singer is joined on stage by Alessandra Amoroso for an unreleased duet titled Cheek to cheek. "We are a large family and large families help each other, that is why we must support these two charity foundations during this magical evening," says the artist. The spectacular parade continues with the visibly excited appearance of Il Volo, three young men who represent an all-Italian sense of pride around the world, and Laura Pausini, streamed live from Imola, where she is preparing for her return to the stage. For her friends Andrea and Javier, she sings Innamorata, which was written for her by Jovanotti. And then come Le notti magiche (Magical nights) by Gianna Nannini, and Un’estate Italiana (Italian Summer), which the rocker recorded with Bennato for the 1990 World Championships in Italy, and now sings as a duet with Bocelli to make those magical nights even more original.
But it was not all music: the Open Air Theatre also hosted protagonists from the world of sport, Allegri, Sacchi, Lippi or Claudio Ranieri, coach of Leicester and the man who took the fabled crown of this year’s English championship. And then Eto'o, Seedorf, Leonardo and the legendary Pelè, who – while forced to remain seated due to a recent operation to his femur – cannot help but notice when all three thousand spectators stand up for him. Then came the fun, yet so moving, moment when each of the stars stood on stage and showed a picture of themselves as children. Lucky, a dreamer or a prodigy like Pelè. A small gesture by the world of football to come even closer to the less fortunate children represented by the two foundations to whom the evening was dedicated.