Concert ends on sour note

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 July, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 July, 2002, 12:00am

The Forbidden City is locked in a bitter legal fight over fee payments with the promoter of a concert last year by the Three Tenors.

The concert, featuring Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo, was held in June last year, with tickets costing up to US$1,000 (HK$7,800).

The concert - held just before the International Olympic Committee voted to award the 2008 Games to Beijing - was intended to show the world that Beijing could stage a major cultural event.

But the promoter, the Beijing Cultural and Artistic Company, has not paid the 1.38 million yuan (HK$1.29 million) it agreed as the cost of hiring the prestigious palace venue, according to lawyers for the Forbidden City in a case that opened in the Dongcheng district court on Monday, the Beijing Morning Post reported.

The Beijing Cultural and Artistic Company said it was forced to sign a contract for an amount dictated by the Forbidden City because it had already made all the arrangements and the performance had been fixed. At that point the stage had not even been built, it said.

The company alleges the Forbidden City said the show could not go ahead if it did not sign.

The company said it made no profit from the concert.

In response, lawyers for the Forbidden City told the court that tickets for the concert went on sale in April, with advertisements even earlier saying that it would take place in the Forbidden City - before the company had even signed a contract for the venue.

The Forbidden City says it lost 400,000 yuan in ticket sales on the day of the concert because traffic restrictions meant the palace, the most popular tourist attraction in China, was closed.

The hearing was adjourned without settlement.