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Choir of the World prize to become the Pavarotti Trophy.

Byline: By RHODRI CLARK Western Mail

Opera superstar Luciano Pavarotti has accepted an invitation to lend his name to one of the main competitions at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.

From next year, the prize for the Choir of the World will be known as the Pavarotti Trophy.

The event is the last competition at the Eisteddfod each year and involves the victors from each of the week's choral categories.

Pavarotti has had a soft spot for Llangollen ever since he visited the festival as a young man, when he sang in his local choir. Forty years later, in 1995, he returned for a gala concert as one of the world's most sought-after opera singers.

He announced his decision to lend his name to the choral competition in a rare interview recorded on film at his family home in Pedaro, Italy.

Eisteddfod music director, Mervyn Cousins, said the trophy's new name would also honour Pavarotti's father.

'This designation will be in honour of both Fernando and Luciano Pavarotti. They were both part of the Societa Corale G Rossini Modena, who won the male-choirs competition back in 1955.

'Pavarotti himself has always said that Llangollen was the one experience that made him decide to follow a career in music. We are all extremely honoured by this gesture from one of music's true greats.'

Pavarotti talks fondly of his memories of his 1955 visit in the interview, and of the joy and surprise of winning the competition. When the interviewer asks what Llangollen means to him, a tear rolls down his cheek.

Eisteddfod chief executive Gwyn L Williams said the interview also contained a strong hint that Pavarotti would return to the festival.

The interview will be broadcast in full to the audience before the adjudication of this year's Choir of the World competition, on July 10. The festival begins on Tuesday, with a parade of competitors through the town's streets. Competitions begin on Wednesday.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 1, 2004
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