Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, conductor Seiji Ozawa, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris and a chorus of 600 children and adults took part in a $2 million millennium party at the Eiffel Tower on Friday.
As many as 100,000 Parisians turned out to see and hear the spectacle that was billed as the first free classical-music concert ever presented at the base of the Tower.
"You couldn't have imagined that so many people would have shown up for this kind of concert," concert-goer Christian Gillet told the Associated Press.
Bocelli performed arias from Puccini's Tosca, Verdi's Rigoletto and a version of the French nursery song "Frere Jacques." The 60-minute concert has as its finale of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, "Ode to Joy" and a torrential rain that scattered the crowd over the Champs de Mars.
Ozawa and the musicians performed on an 8,000-square-foot stage that came with a special proscenium arch on which were projected the skylines of Paris and Boston.
"I expected something more simple, but even the backstage is paradise," Ozawa told the AP.
The concert was part of Ozawa's final European tour with the BSO. He is scheduled to take up his new job as music director of the Vienna Opera in 2002.