If you can download this easily, it’s 4 minutes you shouldn’t miss.
An unassuming Welsh mobile-phone salesman who had always wanted to sing opera makes it to the “Britain’s Got Talent” show. Even Simon Cowell was in awe of Paul Potts’ performance.
“Nessun Dorma,” the aria from Puccini’s “Turandot,” means “Let no one sleep.”
‘I shall conquer.’ The line at the end, “All’alba Vincero! Vincero! Vincero!” means “At daybreak, I shall conquer! I shall conquer! I shall conquer!”
Paul Potts conquered.
Update: SEMI-FINAL. Potts followed up tonight with another show-stopping aria, “Con te Partiro,” which means “I leave with you.” This performance was a little too heavy on sparks and special-effect lighting, but Potts’ big voice is what made it work. I’ve never been a big fan of opera, but if there are many more arias like the first two I’ve heard Potts sing, bring ’em on.
Update 2: FINAL. On Sunday, June 17, Potts again sang “Nessun Dorma,” this time wearing a tuxedo, and was voted winner of the competition. The victory earned him a recording contract and an appearance before Queen Elizabeth. “Well done and good luck with the rest of your life,” judge Amanda Holden told him. Click here for video of the final event.
If you have not seen Paul Potts sing opera yet, you won’t understand why he’s receiving so much attention. So get comfortable, call in the kids and check out the video on YouTube. You won’t be disappointed.
In 4 minutes, you’ll see a hundred fairy tales wrapped up in one and a million dreams come true, all in front of “American Idol” villain Simon Cowell, two other judges and a delightfully overwhelmed studio audience.
Yes, it’s opera, and you’re not supposed to like opera. But something else happened last week when Potts sang Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma” on the “Britain’s Got Talent” TV show. He finally explained to millions of us why opera once was so popular. When done right, it tells a beautiful story.
Last week, Potts, an unassuming mobile phone salesman, gave us some storytelling at its best. It started with his round and plain face. We saw his humble expressions, his imperfect teeth, his simple suit and no tie. Then we heard he has never had much confidence, and yet he believed his gifted voice destined him to something bigger than selling telephones.
Potts steps out onto the “Britain’s Got Talent” stage, and judge Amanda Holden, looking like a princess, asks sweetly, “Paul, what are you here for today, Paul?”
“To sing opera,” he says. Piers Morgan, the third judge, rolls his eyes and glances at Simon Cowell. Simon tells Potts, “OK, ready when you are.”
A stage assistant pushes a button to start the CD with Potts’ background music, which begins quietly. The audience watches, wondering, some smiling nervously, not sure whether Paul Potts is there to deliver a joke’s punch line.
Then Potts opens his mouth. The sound is soothing. The tenor pitch is pure. This forlorn and familiar-looking man can sing. Simon shifts his head, still a little skeptical, and bites his pen. Piers purses his lips, waiting for more. Amanda faintly smiles. The princess seems pleased.
“Nessun Dorma” (“Let no one sleep”), Potts sings to the princess of the aria. In his expressions, in the music, in his voice, in Italian, he tells the story, and everyone in this British crowd understands.
When he reaches the payoff lines, the audience is begging for his success. This man is average. This man is imperfect. This man yearns for more in life. This man is us. He must succeed, they are thinking.
Amanda is following him so closely that she takes a breath exactly when he takes a breath. He sings out.
“Ma Il Mio Mistero E' Chiuso In Me,
Il Nome Mio Nessun Sapra' No, No.”
The audience erupts into applause, and as his voice booms with more power, his listeners cheer. Teenagers, middle-aged couples, grandparents, all of them are cheering this homely man with the most beautiful voice. They don’t know it, but he has just told them that, on this night, “My secret is hidden within me, my name no one shall know.” He wants the night to end, because in the daylight he can tell the princess his name in a kiss.
“Dilegua, O Notte!
“Vanish, O night! Set, stars! Set, stars!”
Finally, Potts takes his voice to heavenly heights, declaring that, “At daybreak, I will conquer, I will conquer, I will conquer!”
The judges are equally awed. Piers and Simon smile broadly and applaud madly. Amanda, now nearly breathless, interrupts her applause to wipe tears from her eyes.
Amanda looks back at the audience, which turns up the volume of its approving clamor.
All along, Potts remains in character. He shows a smile of appreciation, but he is still the common man who walked on the stage just a few minutes ago.
“So you work at Carphone Warehouse, and you did that?” Simon says, as he and the audience try to compose themselves. “I wasn’t expecting that. I thought you were absolutely fantastic.”
Amanda says, “I think that we’ve got a case of a little lump of coal here that is going to turn into a diamond.” After Potts leaves the stage, Amanda says, “I had goosepimples.” She says Potts is “a little gem, a frog that will turn into a prince.”
For Potts, who had trained in opera over the years but never made a living from it, it was the night when everything changed.
By daybreak, everyone in Britain knew his name. Paul Potts had told his story. He had conquered the world.