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Saturday, 14 July, 2001, 22:05 GMT 23:05 UK
Pavarotti wows Hyde Park
Annalisa Raspagliosi and Luciano Pavarotti
Luciano Pavarotti duetted with Italian soprano Annalisa Raspagliosi
Opera lovers were bathed in evening sunshine in London's Hyde Park as Luciano Pavarotti and a stellar supporting bill entertained.

More than 70,000 fans were transfixed by the rotund opera star's only UK performance this year.

The good weather contrasted with Pavarotti's emotional rain-soaked performance at the same venue before the Prince and Princess of Wales 10 years ago.


I was expecting to duet with the big man and I'm very disappointed about it

Russell Watson
The concert, entitled Picnic with Pavarotti, helped raise 500,000 for the Prince's Trust with a donation from supermarket giant Safeway.

In a personal message to the crowd read out by actor Richard E Grant on behalf of the Prince of Wales, Charles paid tribute to the superstar's prodigious charity fundraising.

"Thanks to your generosity we will be able to change lives. I have no doubt that this concert will be remarkable and memorable - I just wish that I could be with you tonight to share in it."

Sour note

Pavarotti, 65, is due to return to Britain next year when he will perform in Tosca at Covent Garden.

The one sour note was provided after an expected duet between Salford singing star Russell Watson and Pavarotti failed to take place.

Russell Watson
Russell Watson was annoyed that no duet materialised
Watson spoke of his "disappointment", revealing he had hoped to team up with the Italian maestro, and child singing star Charlotte Church and violinist Vanessa-Mae for the finale of the concert.

However, 20 minutes before he expected to take to the stage he was told the collaboration was off, he maintained.

Instead, Pavarotti sang with Italian soprano Annalisa Raspagliosi, performing a duet from Verdi's La Traviata.

Expected duet

Russell, who had earlier performed his own set, blamed the confusion on a communication breakdown.

"I was expecting to duet with the big man and I'm very disappointed about it.

"I found out about it 20 minutes from the end of the concert.

"It's put a bit of a damper for me personally for what has been a fantastic event.

"It's still a bit of a bad taste. His management haven't communicated properly with us."

See also:

23 Jun 01 | Music
Tenors hit high notes in China
02 May 01 | Arts
King of the high Cs
02 May 01 | Arts
Pavarotti tax trial adjourned
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