Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Romania's 'Pavarotti' wins recording contract

By Fiona Govan in Madrid

A bricklayer dubbed "Romania's Pavarotti" has secured a record contract after winning a Spanish television music competition for immigrants.YouTube: Costel Busuioc performs in the finalHow About That: More weird news from around the worldCostel Busuioc, 33, who grew up in poverty and spent his childhood herding sheep, came to Spain to seek work two years ago, leaving his wife and four children behind in Romania. Mr Busuioc has been hailed a hero in RomaniaBut he will now embark on a new life after winning over audiences with his tenor voice.

Shortlisted from the 4,000 immigrants who entered the "Hijos de Babel" (Children of Babel) competition - which is similar to "Pop Idol" and "Fame Academy" - he was voted the winner last week and won a record contract with Sony.

He beat a Cuban model, a Cuban singing duo, a former gynaecologist from Togo, twin bothers from Venezuela and a Syrian doctor with his performance in the final of "Nessun Dorma", an aria from Giacomo Puccini's opera "Turandot".

Mr Busuioc has spoken of his difficult childhood in rural Romania where he had nine brothers and sisters and was abandoned by his father at a young age.He turned down an offer to study at the Vienna Opera in Austria in order to support his family.But this week he was hailed a hero in his home country and was personally congratulated in a telephone call from Traian Basescu, the Romanian president.

He has also been offered a full scholarship at the National University of Music in Bucharest.
But he has vowed to stay in Spain and said he now hopes to bring his family over to share his success."My life now depends on God, and Sony," he joked after winning the competition.

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