On this day in history : 30th July 1991 – To celebrate thirty years in opera, Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti gives a massive free concert in Hyde Park….

It was set to be the biggest outdoor music event in Hyde Park since the Rolling Stones had performed there in 1969…. Some 250,000 people were expected to attend Pavarotti’s celebratory concert…. Some had camped overnight to get the best vantage points in the 50 acre site…. Although billed as a free concert it was possible to purchase VIP tickets at £400 each….

Luciano Pavarotti – Image credit : Pirlouiiiit CC BY-SA 2.0

However, the weather was not on the side of the concert goers…. Between 100,000 and 150,000 turned up and stood in the pouring rain to watch and listen to Pavarotti’s performance of twenty arias, including Verdi, Puccini, Bizet and Wagner…. The VIPs, among them Diana Princess of Wales, Prime Minister John Major and Michael Caine, got just as wet as everybody else…..

By the end of the evening 193 people had received treatment from St. John’s Ambulance after suffering the effects of the wet and cold….

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