Llangollen International Eisteddfod
The Pavarotti Concert


 

Forty years ago Pavarotti performed with his fathers choir in Llangollen, but I doubt he had quite as much publicity then as he did on his return visit. Thousands of people turned up to see this great wonder. On the Sunday of his performance the whole Eisteddfod grounds were sealed off from the public. The layout of the field and stage were changed to accommodate the large TV screen, Pavarotti, his choir and orchestra.

All the flowers were removed from the stage, either because he had hay fever, or the pollen affected his vocal chords, maybe both, also the choir stalls were set up right in front of the main display. People started arriving on the field at around four o’clock to get good seats if sitting outside or to find out where their seats were inside. Forty years ago Pavarotti performed with his fathers choir in Llangollen, but I doubt he had quite as much publicity then as he did on his return visit. Thousands of people turned up to see this great wonder. On the Sunday of his performance the whole Eisteddfod grounds were sealed off from the public. The layout of the field and stage were changed to accommodate the large TV screen, Pavarotti, his choir and orchestra.

Pavarotti had a rehearsal, much to everyone’s delight, (apart from maybe the stewards). I have never encountered such peculiar behaviour from people wanting to see him. Once Pavarotti was on the stage and the doors to the tent were dosed, people tried desperately to find some way of seeing this famous man, pushing and shoving to try and look into little holes in the tent, some even tried crawling under the tent.

At last the evening came, the whole event had been planned for months, the pavilion building was secure and ‘Showsec’ the hired security were spread around the field to ensure nothing went wrong. The road adjacent to the pavilion was occupied by people trying to catch a glimpse of Pavarotti, either watching the outside screen or hoping to see him in person.

Thousands of people were on the field, in all different attire and from all over the world, some religious followers, others just wanting to see this famous man and hear him sing. Some people were wearing clothes suitable for the heat, others were dressed smartly, and some were in black suits and bow ties or ball gowns. The field had never been so full.

The tent performance began, the orchestra was excellent, and added to the magical atmosphere the wholefield possessed waiting to see Pavarotti. To open the evening the Welsh and English national anthems were sung by every one inside the tent and out. The people outside were slightly delayed, due to a minor fault in the speakers, so they were unable to hear the orchestra at first, this lightened the atmosphere and broke through the anticipation, produced by the audience wanting to see Pavarotti.

The cheers were overwhelming when Pavarotti first appeared on stage to sing ‘Quando Le Sere Al Placido,’ by Verdi.
By the end of the evening the audience were joining in with him and his choir while he conducted. The co-operation from the audience was brilliant, the whole event had been a great success enjoyed by all even the great man
himself. Helen Knowles 

A first hand account by Helen Knowles, a 17 year old student at Ysgol Dinas Bran, for a Souvenir Review produced for the ‘Friends of the Eisteddfod.’ This review was compiled by Helen and fellow student Steven Jones, who wrote the report on the Pavarotti visit on theprevious page. Local students play a major role in the running of the Eisteddfod; ushering, stewarding, litter- picking and many unglamorous but vital jobs.


Reproduced from the book ‘Fifty Glorious Weeks 1947 – 1996’
ISBN 0 9528296 06 – Compiler and Art Editor Robert B. Attenburrow M.B.E
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