Soprano Natasha follows in Pavarotti's footsteps as she becomes the voice of summer football spectacular


Last updated at 23:06 10 May 2008

She is about to follow in Pavarotti's considerable footsteps as the voice of one of football's greatest occasions.

But soccer and opera fans alike will agree that the maestro's legendary rendition of Nessun Dorma for the 1990 World Cup in Italy was never as glamorous as this.

Welsh-born soprano Natasha Marsh, 27, has recorded Queen Of The Night from Mozart's opera the Magic Flute as the theme tune for ITV's coverage of the Euro 2008 championships, which kick off in Austria and Switzerland next month.

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Natasha Marsh

Natasha Marsh has recorded ITV's theme tune for Euro 2008, which kicks off next month

Some critics say that mixing classical music and football on television has become a cliche. But Natasha, the daughter of a piano teacher and a voice coach, insists: "There's nothing wrong with that. It's just so moving, it's so epic, and that's what people feel.

"When you see footballers crying their eyes out or spectators who are just full of emotion, classical music matches that. There's a bit of a stigma attached to it that you've got to be educated to really get it and that's just rubbish, total rubbish.

"When Pavarotti did it, it became a defining moment, and he paved the way for artists like me who are making crossover music – accessible classical music."

Luciano Pavarotti

Luciano Pavarotti will never be forgotten for his legendary rendition of Nessun Dorma for the World Cup in 1990

In another swipe at criticism by opera "purists", Natasha, who also sang the National Anthem before this year's Carling Cup Final, says: 'I came from the real opera world. I went to college and didn't get a record deal when I was 18. I worked for years as an opera singer. When EMI approached me for the record deal, I knew that the purists were going to look at me and say, “Why are you wasting your time”.

"But actually, I can't bear snobbism. Music is music – if you commit to the songs and the lyrics and you give a compelling performance, then that's what it's about."

Natasha's debut album Amour hit No1 in the classical charts in its first week last year, a reward for her strong pedigree in opera.

She won a scholarship to the prestigious Royal College of Music and went on to sing for opera companies including the Glyndebourne Touring Opera.

She is currently touring with Britain's Got Talent winner Paul Potts, who won the ITV competition by singing an impassioned version of Nessun Dorma.

Next month at the House of Commons she will perform a specially written song based on the theme from the hit movie Schindler's List at a commemoration of the 79th anniversary of the birth of tragic Jewish schoolgirl diarist Anne Frank.

Natasha, married to composer Dobs Vye, is unequivocal in her belief that classical music and sport have much in common.

She says: "The passions in football and opera are identical. You get goosebumps when you sing a high note, you get goosebumps when you score a goal. It's the same electrifying experience when the audience, all the spectators, go, 'Wow, what an amazing moment.'"

She will no doubt be hoping for such a moment when the soccer team she supports, Watford, play the first leg against Hull in their play-off bid for promotion to the Premiership.

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