Stars come out to honor Pavarotti at Petra

Mon Oct 13, 2008 11:23am EDT
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By Suleiman al-Khalidi

PETRA, Jordan (Reuters Life!) - Sting, Andrea Bocelli, Placido Domingo and other stars of popular and classical music honored late Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti at a star-studded concert in Jordan over the weekend.

Ballads and beat echoed out from a camp overshadowed by the rose-colored walls that tower over the ancient rock city of Petra to toast Pavarotti a year after the 71-year-old singer died from cancer.

"It was a very special night. I feel I am in another dimension... it was wonderful that the dream finally came true," Pavarotti's widow Nicoletta Mantovani told Reuters.

On Saturday friends and family were involved in a memorial ceremony outside Petra's Al Khaznah or treasury as part of a concert series, exhibition and other events to mark the life of a man who helped make opera loveable among the modern masses.

The weekend concert was originally planned for the ancient city center of Petra built nearly 2,000 years ago but was moved to a Bedouin camp nearby in deference to environmental and archaeological concerns to protect the ancient city.

Archaeologists have been worried about artists who seek to perform in spectacular locations from the Great Wall of China to ancient Greek and Roman and Egyptian structures.

Domingo and Jose Carreras, the two surviving members of the "three tenors" trio, said they were fulfilling the late maestro of Modena's ambition to perform at one of the world's great historical sites.

Others who appeared on stage included Angela Gheorghiu, Andrea Griminelli, and Cynthia Lawrence. The concert was conducted by Eugene Kohn of the Prague Philharmonia.   Continued...

<p>Jordan's Queen Rania (R) presents the Al Hussein Medal to Nicoletta Mantovani Pavarotti, wife of Luciano Pavarotti, during a tribute charity concert and memorial ceremony for the late Italian tenor in Petra October 12, 2008. Proceeds from the concert will generate funds for projects in Afghanistan by the U.N. refugee agency and the U.N. World Food Programme, as well as for the Petra archaeological site 180 km (120 miles) south of Amman. Jordan's King Abdullah on Sunday bestowed upon Luciano Pavarotti the Al Hussein Medal &ndash; First Order for his contributions and his humanitarian role as a peace ambassador of the U.N. REUTERS/Naser Ayoub (JORDAN)</p>