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Sunday, September 12, 1999 Published at 13:41 GMT 14:41 UK

UK: Northern Ireland

Weather brightens for Pavarotti

Luciano Pavarotti escapes 'singing in the rain' at Stormont

Rain clouds over Belfast cleared away just in time to ensure opera fans could enjoy Saturday night's long awaited concert by world famous tenor, Luciano Pavarotti.

The Italian tenor sang from Puccini's Madame Butterfly at the outdoor concert at Parliament Buildings in Stormont, a location more famous for its intense political negotiations than operatic arias.

It was a sentimental return for the renowned singer, who last sang in Belfast at the commencement of his career 36 years ago. On that occasion he also sang Madame Butterfly.

He told a news conference on Friday that he remembered well the first time he sang it in the city 36 years ago.

'Good memories'

Pavarotti said: "I made my debut here. I sang Butterfly here the first time. I have a good memory of it and then Covent Garden took me and did not give me the time to come back."

About 11,000 attended the concert, according to concert organisers. Tickets ranged from £27 to £85 for the event.

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Among the attendance were First Minister designate David Trimble and Corrs singer Andrea Corr.

Pavarotti's management, which also handles the Three Tenors, hasn't ruled out a return visit by the singer, this time accompanied by fellow group members, Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo.

The Stormont concert follows last year's event which featured Sir Elton John.

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