April 17, 2007 / 9:36 AM / 12 years ago

Opera singer Cortes to lift West Ham

West Ham United's Carlos Tevez reacts after missing a goal scoring opportunity during their English Premier League match against Sheffield United in Sheffield, April 14, 2007. NO ONLINE/INTERNET USE WITHOUT A LICENCE FROM THE FOOTBALL DATA CO LTD. FOR LICENCE ENQUIRIES PLEASE TELEPHONE +44 (0)207 864 9000. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico

LONDON (Reuters) - West Ham United are turning to Icelandic opera singer Gardar Thor Cortes for inspiration before the relegation battlers face champions Chelsea on Wednesday.

Cortes, a compatriot of West Ham’s Icelandic chairman Eggert Magnusson, will sing Hammers anthem “I’m forever blowing bubbles” and “Nessun Dorma” — an aria from Giacomo Puccini’s opera Turandot — before kickoff at Upton Park.

The aria made its mark in English football when Luciano Pavarotti’s rendition was used by the BBC as the theme tune for their coverage of the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

Cortes will be making his first foray into warming up a football crowd.

“He’s a very keen football fan, he’s based himself in England and I suppose this is the nearest thing to an Icelandic football team,” Cortes’ agent Brian Lane told Reuters on Tuesday.

West Ham certainly need inspiration in their battle to avoid the drop. Second from bottom of the Premier League, they are five points adrift of safety with five games left to play.

Cortes was quoted as telling Metro newspaper: “I aim to give them Icelandic inspiration and sing them on to victory.”

Chelsea have been on song all season and are second in the table, chasing leaders Manchester United for the title.

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