Pavarotti and football (1): Nessun dorma!

Euro 2012, or the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship, is well on its way. Yes, we’re talking about football (or soccer). Euro 2012 has reached the quarter-finals this week.

This blogger must admit that football isn’t this blogger’s cup of tea, but I can understand why many find football fascinating. Passion for sports, arts or something else, well … it’s just passion about something that we care deeply about and that makes our life meaningful, in spite of how meaningless and odd it looks for outsiders.

Running after a ball together with a bunch of other people, or singing instead of talking? You decide what makes your life meaningful!

For many football fans around the world English football is of special interest. English football seems to be at least as important as the football played in their respective countries. Norway is no exception here. Read about the Norwegian’s obsession with English football here!

It was Pope John Paul II who said “Of all none-important things, football is the most important”, and for football nerds that might be true. For me, as you know “the most important none-important things” are Pavarotti, Italy and lemons (and other fruity things might be added to that list …)!

I his youth Pavarotti played football and dreamt, like almost all Italian guys, that he one day would become a professional football player. We all know that this didn’t happen, but Pavarotti stayed passionate about football all his life.

In 1990, the international football world championship tournament, or just the World Cup, was held in Italy. BBC decided to use Pavarotti singing “Nessun dorma!” from Puccini’s opera Turandot to open and close their World Cup TV broadcasts. This was a huge success and Pavarotti’s aria was issued on record as both a vinyl single and a CD single on Decca.

In July, at the eve of the World Cup final, the first Three Tenors concert was held in Rome. Pavarotti sang “Nessun dorma!” in glorious voice! What a performance! The Three Tenors also sang “Nessun dorma!” together at the end of this concert. Many newcomers became opera fans that day! Even football fans became opera lovers! In many countries the concert was broadcasted on TV (and in many cases live), which made the effect of this concert even bigger!

The audio and video recording of this historic concert (on Decca in every audio and video format known to man) became the biggest selling classical album in world history, and the start of many more Three Tenors concerts and recordings to come. For many World Cups to come a concert with the Three Tenors at the eve of the final were an important part of the game. A phenomenon was born!

However, from this World Cup summer of 1990, “Nessun dorma!” became a modern football anthem, and football and opera became connected as never before. Football fans have always sung songs, but this was a new tune in their repertoire!