Pavarotti estate takes action to stop illicit child duet

Pavarotti estate takes action to stop illicit child duet


norman lebrecht

March 13, 2014

We posted a duet that Dutch child star Amira Willighagen has recorded with Luciano Pavarotti’s Nessun Dorma.

The Pavarotti estate leaped into action. They tell us that no permission was requested or granted for use of the recording. Had it been requested, it would not have been granted.

They will made a formal complaint to Simon Cowell’s company Syco, which insisted it had nothing to do with the dub-over and would not release it on Amira’s forthcoming album.

The estate was originally unable to trace the recording because Pavarotti’s voice had been transposed a whole tone down – the ultimate insult to a great tenor.

amira willighagen  not withpavarotti


  • G Ell says:

    Is there a Maria Callas estate that could sue to remove from all eternity the fake, hideous and insulting Angela wannabe Gheorghiou Carmen Habanera “duet” with the deceased icon? No one is stopping Angie from pairing with her contemporary Jacke Evancho. Good for Pav’s heirs for righting a wrong.

    • Brian says:

      There may not be a Callas estate as such; but unlike Big Lucy, some of her recordings are PD in some countries. But it appears the real difference would be that the Gheorghiu/Callas “duet ” was recorded by EMI which has rights to the Callas recordings and if there were royalties to be paid and permission given EMI would doubtless have that covered. What happened here is totally different and the Pav estate has a legit beef.

  • David Boxwell says:

    OK, then, so moving on: Amira and Frank duet on “New York, New York.” It will rocket up the charts!

  • robcat2075 says:

    Does the estate necessarily have any say in it if the recording is owned by a record label?

    • 18mebrumaire says:

      Excellent question. Let’s ask the lawyers . . .

      • robcat2075 says:

        It’s something that comes up every election year here when a politician uses some oldie in his campaign and the original artists or band loudly object via a press release but not much more happens because the rights really belong to the record label.

  • Pavarotti was known for his wonderful top notes. These were notes he hit with ease until the end of his career. To transpose his recordings down simply to fit “some cute kid” is a travesty.

    Personally, if I were to make a recording, I’d do so live and not attempt to duet with the dead.

    It is one thing using an MP3 backing track as a practice aid when you are not working with your accompanist. It is completely different ripping off either the estate or the income of another musician.

    The very kind pianists who have recorded piano-parts for a large number of English and French Art Songs, and for a number of Operatic Aria, do charge (it isn’t very much around £1-£3 per song) This is for private use, and given some of my current repertoire has rather tricky piano parts (one that I might be able to learn, but certainly can’t play at the same time) this is a very useful resource.

    It is much easier to duet with a singer when they are actually in the room with you. This little thing called chemistry happens.

    • iPavarotti says:

      It’s only one tone….. ONE TONE…. level…. whole note with sharp and flat either side. So really a half note up or down! It’s one tonic tone key away and play them together and they’re harmonizing. They’d be fools to press it into court and this is done all the time under

      You can barely tell and it takes an algorithm like what Google uses to authenticate it as from the recording. This is Much a Do About Nothing! ……and with it already all over the web, they’d be feverishly requesting DCMA take downs for the next 20 yrs. Notice it’s still up on YouTube and even if they got a DMCA take down notice, there’d be dozens more up the next day. It’s the same thing with that Hitler, “Downfall (Der Untergang)” used to spoof everything from Presidents to Sony PS3 and Xbox One. They tried to for two years and have now just given up issuing take downs for that!

      And YouTube is only one of dozens of sites to monitor on this DMCA violation stuff! ……it a losing proposition pure and simple. Unless the family wants to go broke paying for monitoring the 1,000 of other copycats that’ll result too. It’s a totally untenable situation, except to use as good publicity…. by allowing them to stay up. That will go a lot futher to marketing his music than trying to figure out who’s responsible and then trying to sue them, when most likely they don’t have any money to sue for.

      The person who made this static video is obviously only a fan and what if it’s a little some young people? It’ll turn Pavarotti’s family into villain and him with them!