Luxe Life Blog
Exclusive: Barry Manilow to perform at Nobel Peace Prize ceremony
Music superstar Barry Manilow is ignoring Chinese pressure and protests over the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize Award to imprisoned activist Liu Xiaobo. Our Paris headliner, who closed his run of 2010 shows last night, flies to Norway on Wednesday ahead of the ceremonies in Oslo, Norway, on Friday and Saturday.
Barry will close the official Nobel Peace Prize concert after three other performers, including violinist Joshua Bell. Last night, Barry, who will be backed by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in Oslo, told me exclusively backstage at the Paris that he plans to sing and play his hit “One Voice” at the Oslo Spektrum.
“It will be highly emotional,” Barry said. “It’s the perfect song for the situation. The Nobel Prize winner is still imprisoned, along with his wife, and so his absence will be marked simply by an empty chair onstage alone with me.”
The award has infuriated Chinese Communist officials, but Hong Kong pro-democracy activists plan to attend the Scandinavian ceremonies in a show of support and protest outside the Chinese Embassy there. Protesters also have taken to the streets in Hong Kong demanding his release. Xiaobo was jailed for 11 years last December for writing a book that called for political and legal reform in China.
Xiaobo is the first Chinese citizen to be awarded the famed prize, and Amnesty International is leading the call for his release. Nobel Peace Prize recipients include the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, President Obama and former President Jimmy Carter.
The action that China took in pressuring Cuba, Iraq, Russia and Kazakhstan to boycott the Oslo ceremonies has not deterred our Strip headliner. Barry said: “This is a very poignant moment. I am deeply honored to have been invited to perform. I will perform four songs and close with ‘One Voice.’ It says everything. Nothing more needs to be said. It will be very emotional and hopefully it will make the very necessary statement.”
Barry resumes his second year of his Paris headliner contract next month, and we’ll have his future plans about how long he wants to continue performing here in another Vegas DeLuxe exclusive this week.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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