RNC 2016: Trump campaign hit by complaint from Pavarotti family for using famous aria at rallies

The Pavarotti family is not alone voicing dismay at Trump's purloigning of music 

David Usborne
Cleveland, Ohio
Thursday 21 July 2016 22:57 BST
Luciano Pavarotti
Luciano Pavarotti (Getty)

There have been assorted complaints lodged with the Trump campaign from musical artists about the use of their music at political events, including the Republican Party in Cleveland, but fewer are more striking than the latest. It comes from the family of the late Luciano Pavarotti.

The family is unhappy that one of the opera great’s most popular arias, Nessun Dorma, has been used on a regular basis at rallies, usually to help pump up the crowds before the candidate arrives on the scene, whether by one of his shiny limousines, helicopters or private jets.

Leading the chorus of disapproval, the Associated Press reported, is the singer’s widow, Nicoletta Mantovan Pavarotti. She, supported by other family members, told the paper in her local town, the Gazette de Modena, that the “values of brotherhood and solidarity“ that Mr Pavarotti voiced in his career ”are incompatible with the world vision proposed“ by Mr Trump.

The aria, taken from Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot is part of a playlist of songs, that is short enough that it is usually played several times over at each Trump event along with assorted other popular tunes by artists that include Sir Elton John.

It boomed from loud speakers as a few hundred supporters watched from the edge of Lake Erie in Cleveland on Wednesday when Mr Trump first flew by in his Boeing 757 to a nearby airfield and minutes later landed in front of them in his helicopter for a brief rally with his running mate, Governor Mike Pence.

As Nessun Dorma reaches its crescendo, the final words, in Italian, mean, ‘I will win’.

Earlier this week there was word from London that the rock group Queen was objecting to the playing of their iconic number We are the Champions at the convention on Monday night as Mr Trump made a dramatic, 007-inspired, entrance onto the stage to introduce his wife, Melania, who gave the keynote address of the night.

In a Twitter message, the group said that there had been “unauthorised use” of the song “against our wishes”. It was later reported, however, that the Republican National Committee, which is co-hosting the convention alongside the Trump campaign, in fact had acquired the license to use the song at political events.

Historically, Republican candidates have frequently had difficulty persuading artists to let them use their music to brand their events. And when they do anyway, legal trouble can sometimes ensue as in 2008 when Senator John McCain was the target of a lawsuit from Jackson Browne who claimed his artist’s rights had been infringed by the candidate’s campaign.

Choosing appropriate music without getting into trouble with artists and composers was always bound to be especially tricky for Mr Trump, whose statements on issues from immigration to border control have made him one of the most controversial nominees in generations.

Thus in February, his campaign found itself in a spat similarly with the Rolling Stones who also said that Mr Trump had never sought their permission to blast their songs at his rallies, including, You can’t always get what you want.

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