A Farewell Performance for Luciano Pavarotti

Ok- I am one of those Southern men that would never admit to listening to opera, but when I am alone and want to listen to something that doesn’t have a ‘thump-factor’ while doing web design work I have been known to put on some Enrico Caruso music. I think I fell for Caruso music after watching the film Fitzcarraldo. I have had a respect for opera ever since then.

For those who don’t know, Enrico Caruso was an Italian opera singer and one of the most famous tenors in history. Caruso was the most popular singer in any genre in the first twenty years of the twentieth century, one of the pioneers of recorded music and one of the best-known stars of the early 1900’s.

There has been no one as popular an opera star since Caruso until Luciano Pavarotti began his career. Pavarotti has made himself known in recordings, TV and movies. His name has become familiar throughout the world. Pavarotti had taken the Final Taxi.

Can’t say I’m that surprised. The last few times I saw him on TV you could tell he didn’t look good and the make-up too much. He was suffering from pancreatic cancer.

Widely considered the greatest tenor of the last part of the 29th century, Pavarotti won the prestigious Concorso Internazionale in 1961, and made his American debut in 1965 when Dame Joan Sutherland brought him on-stage with her during a performance of Gaetano Donizetti’s ”Lucia di Lammermoor” with the Greater Miami Opera.

Pavarotti sold millions of records, shared the stage with pop stars like Sting, James Brown, Elton John, and Bono, and raised millions of dollars for charity through benefit concerts.

Pavarotti became a household name in 1990 when he partnered with Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras to form The Three Tenors. At the height of their popularity, the trio drew huge crowds, especially for World Cup performances in Paris in 1998 and Japan in 2002, and their 1994 recording The Three Tenors in Concert remains the best-selling classical album of all time.

Pavarotti’s one venture into film, a romantic comedy called Yes, Giorgio (1982), was roundly panned by the critics. He can be seen to better advantage in Jean-Pierre Ponnelle’s adaptation of Rigoletto for television, released that same year, or in his more than 20 live opera performances taped for television between 1978 and 1994, most of them with the Metropolitan Opera, and most available on DVD.

Pavarotti retired in 2004, but then embarked on a ”farewell tour” in 2006. That same year he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and underwent surgery to have a tumor removed. The illness forced him to cancel his remaining performances, but his management had hoped the tenor would be able to resume the tour in 2007.

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One Response

  1. Great Article Ron

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