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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Farewell, Luciano

One of the world's most beloved and gifted tenors has passed into Opera Heaven. (Opera Heaven is where all great singers go when they die, according to my personal mythology.)

Pavarotti's charismatic personna and ebullient showmanship — but most of all his creamy and powerful voice — made him the most beloved and celebrated tenor since the great Caruso and one of the few opera singers to win crossover fame as a popular superstar.

For serious fans, the unforced beauty and thrilling urgency of Pavarotti's voice made him the ideal interpreter of the Italian lyric repertory, especially in the 1960s and '70s when he first achieved stardom. For millions more, his thrilling performances of standards like "Nessun Dorma" from Puccini's "Turandot" came to represent what opera is all about.
I had the incredible experience of seeing Pavarotti as Riccardo in Verdi's "Un Ballo in Maschera" at the Metropolitan Opera. To describe his voice is impossible for me - all I know is that compared to the other stars onstage, his voice was completely present, as if he was using a megaphone. The emotions his glorious vocalism provoked were direct and instantaneous. He was truly one of the greats.

Click here for a YouTube video of Signor Pavarotti's signature aria, "Nessun Dorma." Just try not to cry. I dare ya!

Farewell, Luciano. You will surely be one of the most beautiful and cherished voices in Opera Heaven.

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