George Michael First International Pop Star in Opera Garnier

George Michael has become the first international popstar to perform in Paris’ Opera Garnier, a venue more known as a stage for classical music and opera.

He performed Sunday evening, as part of his “Symphonica Tour,” to support French AIDS charity Sidaction.

Before the show, George tweeted:

Well me, not exactly operatic. In fact, I am told that mine will be the first non-classically trained voice to sing on that prestigious stage. Not sure I believe that, but it’s a nice thought, if a bit terrifying.

As the gig came to a close, the 49-year-old told the Paris crowd: “Paris, you’ve been wonderful. It’s good to see you all.”

French fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier, The Artist actress Berenice Bejo, Bond girl Berenice Marlohe and actress Dolores Chaplin, the granddaughter of silent film star Charlie Chaplin, were among the celebrities who gave the singer a standing ovation at the French opera house.

“It’s so touching to see George sing here, and it is very special to see him in the Opera Garnier,” said Chaplin.

He performed a selection of his biggest hits and American standards before the swaying crowd, winding up with an explosive finale of “Freedom” and “White Light.”

Tickets for the concert went at up to 1,300 euros with a special dinner thrown in. An auction raised 68,000 euros, with a dinner for six with George Michael at his London home bringing in 31,000 euros.

After the show some 250 celebrities met George Michael at the invitation of organizers Line Renaud and Pierre Berge.

Berge, the companion of late fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent and co-founder of Sidaction, declared: “The only vaccine against AIDS is the condom” while singer and entertainer Renaud praised George Michael as having always promoted “sex without risks.”

The concert and dinner swelled the coffers of Sidaction by some 289,000 euros.

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