Celebrating its role as this year’s European Capital of Culture, Patras, the provincial city in western Greece, adds a lighter touch to its agenda on Friday with a performance by Italian pop star Eros Ramazzotti. The Italian, proclaimed by his publicists as having sold over 35 million albums over the past 24 years, will perform a full-scale show in Patras, organizers said. A total of 15 trucks containing sound, lighting and stage equipment will travel from Italy to Patras for the production, to be set up by some 180 of the Italian artist’s crew members, as well as nearly 100 local technicians. Commenting on his upcoming Patras show, Ramazzotti said it was an honor to be taking part in a European Cultural Capital event, his career’s first. Ramazzotti emerged in the early 1980s after winning the top prize for Best New Artist at the San Remo Festival. The future pop idol, who grew up in Rome, where in his words it is «easier to dream than face reality,» left school and moved north to Milan to pursue a musical career. By 1990, he had begun making an impact abroad, as was highlighted by a sold-out show at New York’s celebrated Radio City Music Hall. Not long after, Ramazzotti established himself as an international act with 1993’s «Tutte Storie» album, which sold 6 million copies and topped many European charts. Though acclaim has come his way worldwide, Ramazzotti has proven particularly popular in Germany, Europe’s biggest music market, as well as Mexico and Argentina, and his native Italy. To further facilitate his appeal in Latin American markets, Ramazzotti, who has released 10 studio albums as well as two live albums in 24 years, has also delivered alternate versions of all his albums in Spanish. His collaborations have included recordings with a host of acts, among them compatriots Luciano Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli, Tina Turner, Joe Cocker, Cher, and, more recently, Anastacia. Preceding Patras 2006 events have included world-renowned Italian director-actor Roberto Benigni’s monologue from Dante’s «Divine Comedy.» Other forthcoming productions include concerts by Mstislav Rostropovich, widely regarded as the world’s greatest living cellist, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, and the internationally acclaimed German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter.