Star tenor Rolando Villazón sang for RED NOSES 

Charity Gala raises 72,000 euro for the Clowndoctors’ work

Music, love and above all much humour... a special feeling of magic was in the air on the 9th of October in Studio 44. Together with Austrian Lottery, RED NOSES Clowndoctors International invited the star tenor Rolando Villazón to participate in a Benefit Gala. Under the motto "Love is an unusual game", the 150 guests, business persons, entrepreneurs, opera fans and prominent RED NOSES supporters, such as the RED NOSES honorary president Dr Max Friedrich, TV presenter Arabella Kiesbauer and the outstanding singer Sona Ghazarian enjoyed a top-class musical evening with Rolando Villazón.

The Benefit Gala was enhanced with heart-warming, humorous interludes by the world-famous opera singer, alias "Dr Rollo", and the RED NOSES Clowndoctors. Villazón, the ROTE NASEN ambassador, gave a tireless performance and also again his all in the finale of the evening: he was brilliant in a live performance as a caricaturist and delighted the public with two pictures. As announced, one was raffled and the second – a Verdi caricature – was spontaneously auctioned as a donation to RED NOSES. It was sold for 4,100 euro to the keenest bidder Antonella Mei-Pochtler, managing director of the Boston Consulting Group.

72,000 euro was the wonderful outcome of the Benefit Gala, which was under the honorary patronage of the Austrian President Dr Heinz Fischer. The total proceeds will be given in support of RED NOSES  Clowndoctors International, which in the meantime are active in nine countries in children’s clinics, senior-citizens’ homes, rehabilitation centres, hospices and social institutions.

Rolando Villazón has been an ambassador in service of the RED NOSES group for four years. The star tenor is also an impassioned Clown himself and has already accompanied the Clowndoctors as "Dr Rollo" several times during their rounds – most recently in April in Vienna. "RED NOSES Clowndoctors bring happiness and colour into the hospital wards. Their poesy remains, even when they are long gone. I am proud to be one of them,” says Villazón.

Valuable engagement for more laughter and joy of life
"Rolando Villazón is the best ambassador we could wish for. He has wonderful clowning humour himself. But as a philosopher and sensitive person he is also someone who fully understands the depth and effectiveness of our work and can carry it out into the world. Rolando Villazón knows what it means to transform tears into a smile. And he helps us in this way,” says Monica Culen, founder and managing director of RED NOSES Clowndoctors International. The world-famous tenor was again engaged for RED NOSES at the Benefit Gala.

"It is wonderful to contribute something to enable my clown friends to go out and 'lure' for a moment many sick persons out of their accustomed surroundings and into a magical world, where only laughter and dreams are permitted,” says Villazón in respect of his engagement as a RED NOSES ambassador.

"Clowns are not only entertainers, their work is of great importance socially. With the radiant power of a rainbow they take sick persons with them into a world full of colours, movement, light and freedom. I have often experienced the RED NOSES myself and for that reason I know how much they have effect. Despite illness, it is possible with them to find a spark of happiness,” Villazón adds.

An ode to clowning...
Rolando Villazón delighted the public with selected lieder and arias and showed his very personal side as the clown "Dr Rollo". He was accompanied by Sarah Tysman (piano) and the RED NOSES Ensemble. Moreover, the soprano Regula Mühlemann was also to be heard on stage. As a further highlight the opera star drew a caricature on the spot, which was then raffled. Then as an announcement of the 2013 Verdi Year, Rolando Villazón spontaneously drew a Verdi caricature, which due to the great enthusiasm of the audience was then auctioned. The highest bid came from Antonella Mei-Pochtler, managing director of the Boston Consulting Group. She acquired the caricature for 4,100 euro, which benefited RED NOSES.

The motto "Love is an unusual game" was an ongoing theme throughout this special evening: whether in the humorous presentation by Barbara Rett and Martin Kotal as "Dr Stoppl”, the sketches undertaken together by the opera star and the Clown Doctors or a clowning love-song medley at the ‘heart-warming Gala dinner’ provided by DO&CO, served by the funny RED NOSES waiters among others. Then came the grand finale: the classic "Bésame mucho" was wonderfully performed by Rolando Villazón with the RED NOSES Ensemble.

...and the power of humour
The total proceeds of 72,000 euro will benefit the work of the RED NOSES Clowndoctors International in Austria, Germany, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland and New Zealand.

"In this way we will be able to successfully continue and even intensify our activities in more than 370 hospitals and health institutes, and give many sick people happy and supportive moments with our clowns! Many thanks go to Rolando Villazón and all of the partners and RED NOSES fans who have helped though this evening to make a gift of laughter beyond our borders,” says a pleased Monica Culen.

Many partner firms have supported the Benefit Gala pro bono and thus also contributed to the tremendous sum of donations. Bettina Glatz-Kremsner, MA, director of the board of Austrian Lotteries, explained their engagement for RED NOSES with the following words: "I think that when a child is so sick that it must remain in a hospital ward, then the parents and family are also sick – and that means sick with worry. That is the moment when the Clowndoctors come in with a great deal of intuitive understanding and gentleness, and I think that is fantastic.”

Straight ahead full of joy
The RED NOSES will also give their all in the future to spread healing laughter. There are regular queries from neighbouring countries that also wish to set-up a hospital clown programme. And with the necessary support this can also be realised, such as the most recent case of the RED NOSES partner organisation in Poland. Moreover, Monica Culen also reveals a plan for the future in 2013. “We wish to set-up an international crisis-intervention team with Clowndoctors that will be active in disaster areas. Thus together with the vital basic provisions, emotional care can also be offered; because laughter helps and those who can laugh do not give up – which our clowns notice daily in their work!”

In gratitude to our partners!

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