Pavarotti hits bad note in Eigg

The residents of Eigg greeted reports that Luciano Pavarotti wants to build an opera centre on their island with a chorus of disapproval yesterday.

Highland Council has been approached by the Pavarotti Foundation, which wants to establish a centre of excellence for classical and operatic music on the 7,400-acre Hebridean outcrop which would attract 3,000 students, 1,500 of them operatic.

A German consultant purporting to act for the singer has made contact with the council, saying he had the blessing of the owner of Eigg, Marlin Eckhard Maruma, to enter into discussions over the plan. It comes a day after the Heritage Lottery Fund turned down the islanders' application for cash to help buy the island from the Stuttgart-based artist. They have already raised pounds 1.4m towards the pounds 2m price tag.

But Maggie Fyffe, secretary of the Isle of Eigg Heritage Trust, said: "It's completely ridiculous. The concept of 3,000 people suddenly descending on Eigg is as ridiculous as you can get."

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