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Farewell, Luciano

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As I write this, it's been well more than a day since news came of the death of Luciano Pavarotti. His passing might have been no more than a blip on the screen of my consciousness were it not for the fact that my older son is an operatic tenor. I believe my younger son could have gotten there as well, but he opted for writing over singing. Which he is better at, I don't know. He excels at both.

Prior to my sons' involvement with operatic music, I was barely aware of it. I have some ability and history singing myself, but not on any serious level. While I won't claim to be a dyed-in-the-wool opera buff, I have, over the last several years, become better schooled in and more appreciative of it. I have a much greater understanding of the difficulties of singing at that level. Of course, one must have "the gift" of an adequate instrument, but one must also work extremely hard over a long period of time to achieve any level of success. My older son will be 29 years old in a week or so, and only now is his voice reaching its maturity.

To watch Pavarotti sing, one would think that it is easy, as he made it seem effortless. Of course there are many great tenors out there. Perhaps my son will one day be counted amongst them, I don't know. But Pavarotti had "the voice." Domingo, Carreras, and others were and are great in their own right. But Pavarotti touched a nerve that transcended the sometimes insular world of opera. He was criticized soundly by many for "crossing over" into other genres which many considered shameless pandering for fame and money. Even the "Three Tenors" concerts were frowned upon by purists.

But I would suggest, as others have, that Pavarotti's forays into pop, even rock and country, perhaps brought people to opera and classical music who otherwise would have remained blissfully unaware of it. And, remember Placido Domingo "crossed over" as well. Remember his duet with John Denver, "Perhaps Love"?

I have listened to some truly great recordings of Pavarotti's over the last day or so. Should you be uninitiated but curious, or if you would enjoy revisiting some great singing, then give a listen. You’ll be glad you did.

You can read more about Luciano Pavarotti at NPR’s website.

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  • Dr Dreadful

    I have a Pavarotti Greatest Hits album on cassette that I bought after the BBC used ‘Nessun Dorma’ as the theme song for its Italia 1990 World Cup soccer coverage. I loved his voice. He may not have been a great operatic actor, but even I, a non-opera fan, could tell that in the pure quality and effortlessness of his voice he stood head and shoulders above the other two of the ‘Three Tenors’, Domingo and Carreras.

    The world is a quieter and less sweet place for his passing.

  • Otis B. Driftwood

    I’m sorry, is this an article about Pavarotti or your son?

  • Otis,

    Excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me!


  • Irene Wagner

    It’s sad to see a good tenor die, but also good to know there are others waiting in the wings. All the best to Baritenor Jr. I’m off to find You tubes of Pavarotti singing…country????

  • Yes, Irene. I think you’ll find that Luciano sang about everything you can imagine, mainly at his yearly “Luciano and Friends” concerts in Modena. He sang with many rock singers and some country singers, most notably Willie Nelson.

    By the way, I will try to answer your comment over on my “God’s Warriors” post, but the post will likely disappear off of the grid as it were tomorrow.


  • Irene Wagner

    Yes, and I will probably be back to read said post, even though I said I had to be busy with other things besides BC. Just don’t ask me any questions in it, OK? Then I won’t answer back 🙂

  • Alessandro

    i mentioned this on another post. his ave maria makes my soul tremble.

  • Technically, I don’t know that Pavarotti was considered to be the best. But his appeal, his vocal quality, his passion came through, perhaps in ways that other top tenors couldn’t manage.

    I find the same to be true to a degree with Rene’ Fleming. She has great appeal, although I would also count her as one of the best at her craft technically as well.

    Luciano was a man with a big voice and big appetites – larger than life in a number of ways.
    We are fortunate to have been around to hear him.