A day-by-day history of U2, now in its second edition.

Bono/U2 and Luciano Pavarotti

By on September 5, 2007 in Book Samples with 7 Comments

You’ve probably heard the news that opera legend Luciano Pavarotti died Thursday morning at home in Italy. I thought I would share the U2 DIARY entries that mention Pavarotti; together, they paint a picture of the friendship U2, and particularly Bono, developed with the star tenor.

Bono and Pavarotti

September 12, 1995

Bono and Edge are joined by Brian Eno and opera singer Luciano Pavarotti at the latter’s “Pavarotti and Friends” concert in Modena, Italy, to perform the new song “Miss Sarajevo,” featuring vocals by Pavarotti. U2 later performs a version of “One” complete with classical orchestra. The concert is an annual event hosted by Pavarotti and is a benefit to raise money for the children of Bosnia.

Miss Sarajevo is also the title of a documentary directed by Bill Carter, who had appeared via satellite from Sarajevo during U2’s Zooropa tour concerts in 1993. The 31-minute film is produced by Ned O’Hanlon and Bono, and is partially financed by U2. When the program airs on TV, it begins with an introduction by actor Liam Neeson provides and introduction, and closes with U2’s video for the song “Miss Sarajevo.”

December 21, 1997

Bono appears with Luciano Pavarotti at the opening of a cultural center in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

April 8, 2003

The U.N. confirms that Bono and Luciano Pavarotti will perform together at the Italian tenor’s annual charity concert near his hometown of Modena, Italy. This year’s concert, to be held May 27th, is slated to benefit Iraq war refugees. Bono and Pavarotti sang together in 1995 to aid children in Bosnia.

May 25, 2003

Bono arrives in Italy in advance of a performance with Luciano Pavarotti in Modena. Today, they rehearse “One” with a full orchestra, and then practice a new version of Schubert’s “Ave Maria.”

They do a news conference after rehearsal, and then Bono and others have dinner at a restaurant that Pavarotti owns in the country. There, Bono joins the house band to sing a bit of “Unchain My Heart.”

May 27, 2003

Bono makes a solo appearance at the Pavarotti and Friends concert in Modena, Italy. His performance includes “One” with an orchestra backing, and a duet with Pavarotti on “Ave Maria.” Bono has written new lyrics for the song that reflect the ongoing situation in the Middle East:

Ave Maria
Where is the justice in this world?
The wicked make so much noise, mother
The righteous stay oddly still
With no wisdom, all of the riches in the world leave us poor tonight

And strength is not without humility
It’s weakness, an untreatable disease
And war is always the choice
Of the chosen who will not have to fight

The concert raises an estimated £1 million pounds for Iraqi war refugees. It’s Bono’s second performance at Pavarotti’s concert — he performed with Edge and Brian Eno during the 1995 concert.

December 13, 2003

Bono and Edge, with their wives Ali and Morleigh, respectively, are on hand for the wedding of Luciano Pavarotti to Nicoletta Mantovani in Modena, Italy. Initial reports suggest that Bono sung for the couple during the reception, and London’s Evening Standard eventually reports that Bono sang “All I Want Is You”, changing the lyrics to the more topical “When the pasta has run dry/And the wine no longer gets you high/All I want is you.”

July 16, 2005

On the third of three nights in Amsterdam, U2 surprise the 50,000 on hand by performing “Miss Sarajevo” for the first time since 1997. Bono sings the operatic verses that were handled in the studio by Luciano Pavarotti.

August 21, 2006

A day after visiting Sarajevo, Bono visits Luciano Pavarotti — who sang with U2 on the song “Miss Sarajevo” — at the tenor’s home in Italy. Pavarotti is recovering from surgery for pancreas cancer in July.

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There Are 7 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Erika says:

    Thanks for this, Matt; a very touching tribute of sorts to Pavarotti.

  2. rihannsu says:

    Very nice tribute. In the first entry the following sentance needs some editing:

    When the program airs on TV, it begins with an introduction by actor Liam Neeson provides and introduction, and closes with U2’s video for the song “Miss Sarajevo.”

    Also in the last entry it should say pancreatic cancer not pancreas cancer.

    If you need a proof reader I’ll be happy to volunteer. 😀


  3. Matt says:

    Thx, Dana. Good catches! This is all unedited/unproofed text for now. I’m most concerned about content than perfect wording at this point, but it will be gone over with a fine-tooted comb, both by me and the Editor at Omnibus.

  4. OptimaX says:

    In the pavaroti article on http://www.u2log.com you can find a link to a YouTube movie of Bono and pavaroti doing a song called “Miserere”. It’s from the same show as the Ave Maria performance mentioned in this article. Why is this song not mentioned in the article? Could it be that they didn’t perform One but Miserere instead?

  5. Matt says:

    Great find, OptimaX. Sure enough, Bono was part of 3 songs. I went back through the news reports from the concert, and even those only mentioned the two performances. So the book has been fixed.

    May I get your name and credit you for the help you provided?

  6. barbara_morrison says:

    Hi Matt,

    What a lovely and touching tribute to Mr. Pavarotti.
    Just a couple of questions on this topic:

    1. Do you know if his annual charity concert will be continued in his memory? If yes, who will organize it, etc.?

    2. Do you know if a scholarship, etc. will be set up to honour him both for his humanitarian work and his musical legacy?

    3. Have you mentioned elsewhere Mr. Hewson’s fondness of opera? I believe Bono often sings a particular song in tribute/memory of his father. [Sorry, momentarily forgotten the name of the song.]

    I’m looking forward to contributing to your project and to reading your book. Best wishes to you.

  7. Matt says:

    Hi Barbara – I don’t know the answers to 1 and 2. On #3, I’m pretty sure there’s other mentions of opera when appropriate in the book. 🙂

    Thanks for checking in and posting a comment!

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