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Alexandra

Two farewells: Pavarotti and Masur

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There are two articles in the Sunday NYTimes today about farewells:

In Final Twist, Ill Pavarotti Falls Silent for Met Finale

After three days of speculation, complete with fat-man-won't-sing tabloid headlines and a replacement half his age waiting in the wings after being flown in on the Concorde, Luciano Pavarotti backed out of his scheduled appearance in "Tosca" at the Metropolitan Opera last night, less than an hour before curtain time.

Kurt Masur's Bittersweet Goodbye With Might Have Beens

EVEN the harshest critics of Kurt Masur would have to grant that the New York Philharmonic has played better during his 11 years as music director than it did in the decade before.  

Mr. Masur improved the orchestra's morale (some residual grumbling aside), its discipline, its responsiveness and its overall sound. He worked some of those changes almost instantly, more quickly in any case than could have reasonably been hoped. He also proved a livelier interpreter than many had expected on the basis of his earlier New York appearances with the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig.

Now, sooner than some might have hoped, Mr. Masur — his health recently restored by a kidney transplant — is preparing to leave the Philharmonic at the age of 74. Forced to leave, actually, by a board that seemed to be seeking a more drastic change — generational, perhaps? — than it ultimately achieved in the hiring of Lorin Maazel, 72, as his successor. On Thursday, Mr. Masur opens his last major home stand: three weeks of concerts, including several of his benchmark works, at Avery Fisher Hall.

Yet for all that he has accomplished, he leaves a lingering sense of unfulfillment — of an opportunity missed.

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He should have contemplated hoisting himself into his car and having himself driven to Lincoln Center. Do you know how many lovers of this man were thronged out on the Plaza, watching the screens set up and hoping to catch this performance?

All he needed to do was to take his hanky out on that stage, blow his nose, and apologise to everyone. Everyone could forgive illness or nerves, or if they couldn't forgive, they could accept it a lot better. He should have dumped all that chicken soup right over his head.:D

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Thanks for these links! I still cherish, though, the image of an angry Juliet, armed with scalding chicken soup, marching towards Pavarotti's hideaway to instruct him on his duties as a megastar -- and perhaps give him some much needed advice on sartorial matters :)

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He was in his apartment *making* chicken soup! That's why I mentioned it--

in New York City they don't have chicken soup?

silly person.:rolleyes:

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What comes across very clearly in most of the accounts of the Pav's inability to appear at the Met is his extreme emotional fragility. For a time--a long time--he had one of the most lryically sweet voices anyone had ever heard. Even his harshest critics, and there were a lot of them, couldn't attack the sheer beauty of his voice. He was wonderful in all the bel canto lyric rolls. When he was working with Sutherland and Bonynge in Donizetti it was magic.

His lack of musicianship, his laziness and self indulgence, his almost total dependence on coaches to learn a part and his collapsing physical health have caught up with him.

It is a shame that he won't be able to do series of proper farewell concerts even if, like many artists, it would only be the first of several farewell tours. Pavarotti was formerly a singer that an intendant could build a season around. Now it will be difficult to book even one-off recitals.

Pav sounds like a mental and emotional wreck when it comes to actually getting on the stage.

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