Pavarotti's "Nessun dorma" & the Trump campaign Photo by Anton Corbijn.

Pavarotti's "Nessun dorma" & the Trump campaign

Jenna Simeonov

The family of the late Luciano Pavarotti wants Donald Trump to stop using the famed tenor’s recordings as a soundtrack for his campaign events. The Trump campaign has featured Pavarotti’s rendition of “Nessun dorma” from Turandot as part of their rally music, for mysterious reasons.

Pavarotti’s widow, along with his three daughters, made a statement about the Trump campaign’s values, which are “incompatible” with those of the tenor himself. “The values of brotherhood and solidarity which Luciano Pavarotti expressed throughout the course of his artistic career are entirely incompatible with the worldview offered by the candidate Donald Trump.”

The Washington Post quoted one commenter, who wrote on a message board, following a December Republican rally in Nevada, that the aria “taps into the emotion of the Trump phenomenon,” and that “Nessum Dorma [sic] is about winning, as is Donald Trump.”

Begrudging props to the commenter, who has at least some understanding of the aria’s text. Judging from the astonishing ignorance and unapologetic bravado of the Trump campaign, we deem it extremely unlikely that any of Trump’s people have done the same. It’s unlikely that The Donald himself chose the rally music (and if he’s ever been to the opera, we’d bet our life savings that he didn’t pay attention to the stage). But it’s a perfect example of what annoys the $%&# out of people who actually enjoy opera.

What’s likely is that the sweeping sounds of Puccini sounded fancy to the Trump folk, and that Pavarotti’s voice sounds heroic (#winning). They’re not wrong, but it just screams, “I heard this on YouTube once.”

It’s unlikely that many opera fans were in the Trump camp to begin with, so exposing the party’s ignorance on yet another topic is moot when it comes to demonstrating stupidity. Yet what Trump’s people could have done without a background in music, is to research Pavarotti himself. The New York Times summed up the difference between the two powerful men: “Mr. Pavarotti worked during his career to help refugees and support human rights. He served as a United Nations Messenger of Peace, and when he died in 2007, the program said that he had raised significant amounts of money to help it ‘protect human rights and refugees around the world’.”

That’s a far cry from building walls between Mexico and the USA, and from banning American immigration by Muslims altogether, two of the more shocking proposals that Trump has spewed in Republican rallies. Their use of Pavarotti’s recordings means one of two things: that they a) looked no further than their Google translate results for “VincerĂ²”, that they b) listened no further than how pretty Puccini is (and how “classical music” might help secure more of the elderly vote).

Extremely unlikely is a third option, that the Trump campaign noted the translation of Calaf’s text, saw the discrepancy in values between he and Pavarotti, and hoped that “Nessun dorma” would (very subtly) say to voters, “we’re not all walls and racism.”

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