In Italian it is bad luck to wish someone good luck.

In Italian it is bad luck to wish someone good luck.

So Luciano Pavarotti instead wished Prada the traditional “in bocca al lupo” — which literally translates as “in the mouth of the wolf” — when he visited their America’s Cup syndicate before racing today.

Pavarotti was shown the Prada base by Luna Rossa skipper Francesco de Angelis, before posing and joking with the boat’s crew for photographers and television cameras.

Pavarotti, visiting the Italian base for just a few minutes to offer his countrymen his support in their bid to win the cup, showed sound knowledge of the yachting regatta and Luna Rossa’s standing at the top of the points table.

He asked de Angelis about yacht design and construction, and questioned him about the many breakages on Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf yesterday.

De Angelis and his crew were clearly delighted by Pavarotti’s visit, and his willingness to pose for photographs.

His enthusiastic “in bocco al lupo” was met with the traditional reply, “crepi il lupo”, or “let the wolf die”.