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14 July 2022, 15:57
Two vocal powerhouses, in the duet we wish had happened in real life…
A few years ago, a Freddie Mercury impersonator created an extraordinary duet between two of music history’s greatest tenors.
Singer-songwriter Marc Martel recorded an imagined duet between the Queen vocalist and opera star Luciano Pavarotti, taking on both roles himself in one single take, using two cameras.
“‘Nessun Dorma’ has become a favourite of mine to perform at solo shows, rock shows, and even Queen tribute shows,” Martel says in the YouTube description for his one-man duet, which he coins ‘The Mercurotti’.
“It was Pavarotti’s calling card, and I’ve often wished he’d sung a duet with Freddie Mercury. Perhaps it would have sounded a bit like this.”
“This was shot as a 3-camera one-take, with the help of my wife, Crystal,” Martel adds. “The only vocal overdub is the ‘Pavarotti’ harmony at the very end, as I’ve yet to master singing in two voices at once. Please enjoy.”
Martel is no stranger to Mercury impressions. In September 2011 he entered a competition to play alongside Queen’s original drummer, Roger Taylor, in Queen Extravaganza, a touring tribute band celebrating the rock group’s back catalogue.
His submission, a cover of ‘Somebody to Love’, received over a million views within days of it being uploaded on YouTube, and he ended up being selected by Taylor and guitarist, Brian May, to be the lead vocalist.
Eight years later, he provided additional vocals for Rami Malek’s Freddie Mercury in the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody.
In an interview with Film Journal International, the film’s producer Graham King said: “Most singing scenes in the movie rely on either vocal stems from Queen master tapes or new recordings by Marc Martel. Rami sings a little bit in the film, there’s a lot of Freddie Mercury obviously, and a lot of Marc Martel.”
While many have paid tribute to the two great tenors, and mashed together their vocals in various forms, Mercury and Pavarotti never stood up on stage together.
The opera star started his benefit concert series Pavarotti & Friends in 1992, the year after Mercury died. In 2003, Brian May stood on stage with the Italian tenor to sing the Queen hit ‘Too Much Love Will Kill You’ (watch below).