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Thursday, April 29, 1999 Published at 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK


Millennium shows unveiled

The World Service will present a concert in Bethlehem in October

Music-lovers planning to mark the millennium in style have two more options now the BBC World Service has announced a series of special concerts, and diva Barbra Streisand has confirmed a glitzy Las Vegas show.

The World Service's events will take place at a series of key locations around the world in the months before and after the turn of the century.

They start at London's Royal Albert Hall in September with a performance of Handel's Messiah, featuring the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Richard Hickox.

[ image: Royal Albert Hall: The concerts will start here in September]
Royal Albert Hall: The concerts will start here in September
The following month, Palestinian group Sabreen will perform classical Arabic music from Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christianity.

A concert planned for Salzburg, Austria, in December will see Mozart's own piano and violin played in a recital of the composer's chamber music.

Other venues will include Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, Moscow, New Orleans, Bangalore in India, and Durban in South Africa, before the final show back in London in June 2000.

World Service chief executive Mark Byford said: "This fantastic series of concerts gives World Service listeners access to some of the best music and best musicians in the world."

Meanwhile, a celebration of a very different kind is on offer in Las Vegas, where Barbra Streisand has confirmed plans for a millennium eve concert.

[ image: Barbra Streisand: Confirming Vegas show]
Barbra Streisand: Confirming Vegas show
Tickets start at $500 (£310) for the show, featuring a singer whose public appearances are rare events themselves.

Her last performance was in 1996 for President Clinton, which followed a 1994 six-city tour, her first in nearly three decades.

"There is no question that Ms Streisand's performance has been the single most sought-after entertainment event for the once-in-a-millennium occasion," said Richard Sturm, the MGM Grand Garden's vice-president for world-wide entertainment.

He also said it would be her last show in the US.

In a statement, Streisand - who married actor James Brolin last year - said she would consider playing in other countries.

"If this engagement goes well, I may decide later to appear in a few cities around the world that my husband and I would like to visit," she said.

Streisand is reported to be being paid $10m (£6.25m) for the event.

[ image: Michael Jackson: Linked with shows in Australia and Honolulu]
Michael Jackson: Linked with shows in Australia and Honolulu
Many celebrities have been linked with millennium concerts, though few shows have been confirmed yet.

Michael Jackson is reported to be planning shows in Australia and Honolulu - which would both take place on 31 December thanks to a 22-hour time difference - according to concert promoter Marcel Avram.

David Bowie has been linked with a show in New Zealand, while the Rolling Stones are said to be negotiating a £6m deal for a New Year's Eve 1999 show.

However, tickets are already on sale for Sir Cliff Richard's celebrations in Birmingham. He is planning a series of shows from 17 December, culminating in a New Year's Eve show. All proceeds are going to the charity Children's Promise.

The BBC is also involved with a British millennium eve show, coming live from the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, south London, just a mile from the Millennium Dome.

As Time Goes By is being staged by Brit Awards producer Malcolm Gerrie, and will feature the London Symphony Orchestra backing a host of as-yet-unconfirmed musical personalities.

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