World-renowned opera singer Placido Domingo will perform in Christchurch to help rebuild the city's earthquake-ravaged arts community.
The great Spanish tenor, 70, has postponed another commitment to travel to New Zealand for a one-off concert at the CBS Canterbury Arena on October 6 that will support the rebuild of Christchurch's Court Theatre and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra (CS0).
Profits from the concert will be evenly split between the theatre and the CSO, with Domingo agreeing to reduce his fee.
Southern Opera Trust chair Christopher Doig, who persuaded Domingo to be Southern Opera's patron when the company began several years ago, described him as a living legend in the world of classical music.
"In many people's view, he is one of the greatest singers in the history of opera,'' Mr Doig said.
"He has brought the world of opera to the masses and his wanting to come here to give back in this charitable way is testimony to the calibre of the man. It is incredibly rare for New Zealand to get agreement for the most internationally significant artist to visit these shores, let alone have him prepared to give back to the city in this way.''
Domingo, one of The Three tenors, can empathise with Christchurch's loss of life, having lost four of his own family members in the magnitude 8.1 earthquake that struck Mexico in 1985 and killed an estimated 10,000 people.
Mr Doig said the October concert was also a vote of confidence in the city.
"It will reassure any promoter considering bringing an event to Christchurch that he or she can do so with confidence. The timing of this event, just before the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals, is significant too. Since Christchurch is not now playing a part in the RWC, it's great to have a different event of international significance at that time.''
Court Theatre chief executive Philip Aldridge said it was humbling that the multi-Grammy award winning artist would come to support the quake-damaged theatre, which is trying to raise $4.6m to reopen again by December.
Christchurch Symphony Orchestra chief executive James Caygill said it was a wonderful gesture from a great man.
"It's such a coup to have him here at all, let alone to give a performance purely to support this city's arts culture.''
The CSO lost its base in Christchurch's Arts Centre in the February earthquake, as well as access to its primary venue, the Christchurch Town Hall, and had to cancel all of its concerts to the end of July.