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When the Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan sang ‘Ave Maria’ with Pavarotti

J-P Mauro - published on 01/15/18 - updated on 01/15/22

Princess Diana, who attended the performance, told the singer that the song brought her to tears.

Dolores O’Riordan, lead singer/songwriter for the famed Irish rock band, The Cranberries,  passed away at the age of 46 on January 15th, 2018. Her publicist broke the tragic news back then in a statement explaining:

“Irish and international singer Dolores O’Riordan has died suddenly in London today,” her publicist said in a statement on Monday. “She was 46 years old. The lead singer with the Irish band The Cranberries, was in London for a short recording session. No further details are available at this time.”

In September, 1995, Dolores performed “Ave Maria” with Luciano Pavarotti at a charity concert in Modena, Italy. In attendance at the concert was Princess Diana, who O’Riordan recalled meeting to the Independent:

The Limerick star was going to the bathroom when Pavarotti stopped her and brought her over to meet Diana. Dolores sat down with her and had a glass of wine. Diana immediately explained to Dolores that the reason she cried earlier at her performance was because her mother Frances loved Ave Maria.

She added that she was a huge fan of The Cranberries.

Flattered, Dolores said to Diana: “It must be really hard to be a princess.”

She told Dolores that “no, it must be harder to be a female rock star, because you have to do concerts all over the world”.


“Diana was really sweet, a people person. So afterwards, I said to her ‘I’ve got to go to the bathroom. Do you want to go with me?’ You know the way girls go together to the bathroom! And she goes: “I really need to go as well, but I can’t.'”

Dolores asked Lady Diana why.

“Because if I get up they have to ring a bell and everyone has to stand up when I go to the bathroom.’ I said to her: ‘Being a princess is much harder than being a female rock star!'”

O’Riordan, who only a few years ago opened up about her bleak history of sexual abuse, won the lead singer spot with The Cranberries in an audition and successfully fronted the band for 13 years. The band released five full-length albums, their greatest being No Need To Argue (1994), which sold 17 million worldwide.

The parish priest from her home town, Father James Walton, has confirmed that O’Riordan’s funeral will take place in Ireland, at Ballybricken & Bohermore Parish. The date of the funeral will depend on when her body is returned to Ireland.

He said: ‘I only found out this afternoon. Her family is very devastated and upset. The suddenness of her death has been a shock. I met Dolores two or three times when she was home visiting family. She was a lovely lady.”

In an interview after meeting Pope John Paul II, O’Riordan credited her faith as one of her greatest musical influences:

“The Church influenced a lot of my development as an artist and as a musician. I learned an awful lot of my music through the church and stuff like that. For me It’s always been a good thing, a positive thing in my life.”

Dolores was survived by her children: Taylor Baxter, Molly Leigh, and Dakota Rain.

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