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A taste of Italia 90 coming to the Turf

Star midfielder and former Claret Paul Gascoigne, following England's semi-final defeat to West Germany at Italia 90
Star midfielder and former Claret Paul Gascoigne, following England's semi-final defeat to West Germany at Italia 90
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The heady days of Italia 90, when the strains of “Nessun Dorma” echoed through the air, will see a renaissance at Turf Moor when renowned opera singer Sean Ruane will take to the pitch.

Former St Theodore’s High School pupil Sean will belt out a rousing rendition of the operatic aria, made famous by Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti during the World Cup of 1990, when he appears at half-time of Burnley’s home tie with Manchester United this Saturday.

Tenor Sean Ruane, singing before an Ashes cricket match

Tenor Sean Ruane, singing before an Ashes cricket match

And Clarets fans are being asked to provide their best backing vocals and sing along with Sean, who will be at Turf Moor to record a History Channel interview on the cultural impact of Nessun Dorma.

Talented tenor Sean, who grew up in a large working class family in Bacup, was a rough and ready singer in a pub rock band when he first heard Pavarotti’s legendary rendition of Nessun Dorma, which was used as the BBC’s theme tune of the Italia 90 World Cup.

The beauty of the aria, from Puccini’s Turandot opera, inspired Sean to set off on a road to Italy, spiritually and literally, and train to become a tenor himself.

He said: “In 1990 I was like most young lads glued to the television watching that great England team reach the semi-finals and the heartbreak of our penalty shoot-out defeat.

Legendary Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti

Legendary Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti

“But for me there was something else that caught my imagination, and that was Pavarotti’s rendition of Nessun Dorma. It was my epiphany. I wanted to know who this guy was.”

A coveted place at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester followed for Sean before he secured a scholarship to train in the home of opera, Italy, before an even more coveted place was won to study at the Puccini Academy in Tuscany.

Operatic performances around the world soon followed before Sean eventually made a name for himself, singing at major sporting events including the Ashes, as well as football and rugby internationals.

Sean even managed to take the shoes of Pavarotti himself when he was asked to sing Nessun Dorma for the 2010 documentary film “One Night in Turin” which followed England’s exploits during the 1990 tournament and the social impact it had on people back home.

It was for this reason that Sean was recently asked to appear in a History Channel documentary examining the song’s social impact.

Sean added: “I was more than happy to be interviewed for this programme because the World Cup and that song certainly changed my life. I thought it would be brilliant to do the interview at Turf Moor and for me to sing Nessun Dorma at half-time.

“Burnley Football Club and the Premier League have been brilliant, and I will be singing at the Manchester United match. I want both sets of fans to sing along, even if it’s only the la la las.”

A Burnley Football Club spokesman said: “The Italia 90 World Cup is seared in a lot of people’s memories, and the BBC theme tune of Nessun Dorma was integral to that.

“Producer Tony Pastor and Sean are both Burnley fans so we were more than happy to accommodate them for the documentary, and of course for Sean to sing. We hope both sets of fans join in to make it a rousing rendition.”