Luciano Pavarotti was a man who seemed to have all his dreams fulfilled. But when he died last year, there was one he did not get to do: that was to sing at Petra, the Jordanian ancient city carved into mountains.
Well, Pavarotti’s close friends in the world of music and royalty were able to fulfill that dream by staging a tribute to the late tenor, right there in Petra.
“It was Luciano’s dream to sing in Petra,” Pavarotti’s widow Nicoletta Mantovani said. “I am very happy that this dream, thanks to Princess Haya, is now turning into reality,” she added.
What Nicoletta meant was, Jordanian-born Princess Haya helped organize the event. She, like Pavarotti, is a UN Messenger of Peace.
The concert was a private occasion. Only those who knew Pavarotti well, in addition to members of the Jordanian royal family were guests. UN officials were also there, as well as Italian officials.
The royals in attendance were Queen Rania, Princess Haya, Prince Ali, Princess Ali Rym, Prince Feisal and Princess Muna. Queen Rania awarded Pavarotti’s widow, the Al Hussein Award during the event.
Performers included Sting, Jose Carreras, Andrea Bocelli, and Angela Georghiu.
All proceeds from the concert went to child refugees, something Pavarotti spent much of his career raising money for. He had held benefit concerts for children in countries such as Zambia, Pakistan and Kosovo. This time, the money went to refugees in Afghanistan. In addition, some money went to disabled children in the Petra region.
“Luciano Pavarotti was one of the greatest supporters of UNHCR’s work, using his amazing talents to raise awareness of refugee issues around the world,” said the UNHCR’s Radhouane Nouicer.
Petra was built by an ancient people known as the Nabataeans. Its temples and buildings were not built of brick and mortar, but cut out of the rose coloured rock of the area’s mountains and chasms.
Safe in their natural stronghold the Nabataeans controlled important trade routes during Roman times, but the city was later deserted. It was only rediscovered by a Swiss explorer in 1812. The magic of this lost city attracts millions of visitors every year.