The first time Paul Potts sang Nessun Dorma to the world, and everything changed forever
4 January 2021, 16:47 | Updated: 7 January 2021, 11:57
An English tenor, a Puccini aria, and a television moment no one will forget...
Almost 14 years ago, at the birth of the Got Talent television franchise of series, we were treated to an unforgettable performance.
In 2007, 30-something Paul Potts was working in a Welsh branch of The Carphone Warehouse. The nervy singer had an unassuming appearance, which made your heart leap into your mouth as soon as he took the stage before the early series’ judges Piers Morgan, Amanda Holden and Simon Cowell.
Potts went on to win the inaugural final, collecting £100,000 in prize money and many hearts along the way. He went on to a hugely successful singing career. Over a decade and 14 series of the talent show later, the power of this first moment still remains.
The best versions of Puccini's aria ‘Nessun dorma’
Puccini’s aria ‘Nessun dorma’ comes in the climactic point of his opera Turandot. The final “Vincerò!” features a sustained high B before resolving to an A. It’s consistently a powerful and moving moment.
It has been a staple of heroic tenors throughout the 20th century. However, it was launched into stratospheric levels of popularity when Luciano Pavarotti sang it the first Three Tenors concert on the eve of the 1990 FIFA World Cup Final in Rome.
Paul Potts’ 2007 performance shared the aria with a new generation of TV audiences. As Potts found fame and toured the world, this piece became his number one musical calling-card.
‘Nessun dorma’ continued to be a talent show favourite. In 2016, the then-14-year-old singer Laura Bretan performed it on America’s Got Talent alongside another Puccini aria, ‘O Mio Babbino Caro’. Many other Got Talent hopefuls sang it, including Welsh singer Gruffydd Wyn, Amira Willighagen and Emanne Beasha.
But there’s no doubting the small-screen moment when the Puccini love affair began for so many.
Here’s a great operatic tenor of today, Jonas Kaufmann, giving it his all.