Luciano Pavarotti says Chinese president Jiang Zemin has the qualities to be a "big star" in opera – after performing an impromptu duet with him when they met for lunch.
BBC News Online reports that the superstar Italian tenor and Zemin met for lunch the day after Pavarotti performed in Beijing's Forbidden City with fellow tenors Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo in support of the city's bid to host the 2008 Olympics.
"We began all suddenly to sing," the tenor said of his lunch meeting with Jiang. "If this man can express himself with the soul and the willpower that he has, even in singing, he certainly will be a big star."
The Three Tenors performed the landmark concert before 30,000 people in the ancient Forbidden City on 23 June. The concert took place in a vast open-air courtyard at the former imperial palace.
Pavarotti, who is also an ambassador of peace for the United Nations, said the experience was "unique" and proclaimed the food "the best Chinese I have tasted in my life".
Beijing narrowly lost out to Sydney in a bid for the 2000 games and is hoping it to be named victor when the winning city for 2008 is announced next month.
Tue Jun 26 2001 (8:34:49 PM)