by Paul J. Pelkonen
This didn't really happen....or did it?
Luciano Pavarotti sings with Donald Trump.
An unexpected gaffe by United States President Donald Trump on Thursday afternoon may lead to an unexpected career spotlight for Luciano Pavarotti, the beloved opera tenor who died in 2007.
Today, speaking at the White House in a joint press conference with Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni, Mr. Trump said: "Through the ages your country has been a beacon of artistic and scientific achievement. That continues today."
He then referred to Mr. Pavarotti and his friendship--twice: "From Venice to Florence to Verdi to Pavarotti--friend of mine," President Trump said. "Great friend of mine," he added.
Luciano Pavarotti gave his last performance in 2006, appearing at the opening of the Winter Olympic in Turin, Italy, where he lip-synched to a pre-recorded performance of "Nessun dorma," an aria from Act III of Puccini's Turandot, which, later in his career became the tenor's signature tune. The singer died of pancreatic cancer on September 6, 2007.
The mogul and the tenor had clashed in the past. A report from Peter Conrad of British newspaper The Guardian in 2002 said that Pavarotti gave a disastrous appearance at one of President Trump's now-bankrupt Atlantic City casinos: "He appeared, squawked a few Neapolitan songs, and left even the musically undemanding punters who had wandered in from the gaming tables so disgruntled that Trump demanded the return of his fee."
More recently, has been some contact between the Pavarotti family and the Trump campaign. In 2016, the singer's family wrote a letter requesting that the Republican not use the Pavarotti rendition of "Nessun dorma" while on the campaign trail.
The letter said: "The values of brotherhood and solidarity which Luciano Pavarotti expressed throughout the course of his artistic career are entirely incompatible with the world-view offered by the candidate Donald Trump."