Opera lovers were bathed in evening sunshine in London's Hyde Park on Saturday as Luciano Pavarotti and a host of talented supporting artists entertained more than 70,000 fans at the great tenor's only UK concert this year.
The concert, entitled "Picnic with Pavarotti", helped raise £500,000 for the young people's charity the Prince's Trust.
But BBC Online News reveals there was a sour note to the proceedings after an expected duet between Watson and Pavarotti failed to take place. Chart-topping young tenor sensation Russell Watson has blamed a communications breakdown after a the piece was cancelled 20 minutes before it was due to happen.
Watson had hoped to team up with the Italian superstar, plus 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 apparently told the collaboration was off.
Instead, Pavarotti sang with Italian soprano Annalisa Raspagliosi, performing a duet from Verdi's La Traviata.
Watson, who had already performed earlier in a solo set, told BBC Online: "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."
The event also features a personal message to the crowd read out by actor Richard E Grant on behalf of the Prince of Wales. The prince paid tribute to Pavarotti’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."
Pavarotti, 65, is due to return to Britain next year when he will perform in Tosca at Covent Garden.
He recently performed in China with fellow tenor superstars Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo in support of Beijing’s successful bid to host the Olympic Games.
Sun Jul 15 2001 (1:53:03 PM)