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There is also Tim Page's tribute in The Washington Post:


Ultimately, Pavarotti captured the public imagination as no tenor since Enrico Caruso, whose name he regularly invoked. "Probably the biggest similarity between Pavarotti and Caruso is the way each could envelop an audience," the late soprano Rosa Ponselle, who knew both men, said in 1979. "Each could make every person feel that he or she was being sung to individually."
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He was among the greatest singers of all time. My late wife Alice and I were lucky enough to have heard him in his prime, when he sang "Daughter of the Regiment" with Sutherland at the Met, and as Tonio dispatched his nine high C's with thrilling ease.

I met him in 1981 when I was working at an ad agency for Doubleday, publishers of "Pavarotti: My Own Story," and was asked to write a radio commercial to be delivered by the man himself. I've always been called "Lou," but the given name on my birth certificate is "Luciano," so Alice took the occasion to send along a note for Pavarotti, assuring him that he was "my second favorite Luciano in all the world." The meeting took place in the divo's hotel suite on Central Park South. He seemed pleased both with my script and with Alice's note. He signed the script and recorded it on the spot. Then he autographed a photo of himself "Ad Alice, per caro ricordo."

Now I have both, as dear remembrances of my beloved wife and of the King of the High C's.

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Yes, thank you for that, Farrell Fan.

He was not only a wonderful singer but an ambassador for his art, like Sills -- one of those performers known to people who didn't know anything else about opera.

An appreciation by Anthony Tommasini in the Times.


But no one ever mistook the voice of Luciano Pavarotti. There was the warm, enveloping sound: a classic Italian tenor voice, yes, but touched with a bit of husky baritonal darkness, which made Mr. Pavarotti’s flights into his gleaming upper range seem all the more miraculous.

And it wasn’t just the sound that was so recognizable. In Mr. Pavarotti’s artistry, language and voice were one. He had an idiomatic way of binding the rounded vowels and sputtering consonants of his native Italian to the tones and colorings of his voice. This practice is central to the Italian vocal heritage, and Mr. Pavarotti was one of its exemplars.

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By chance, I turned on the local NPR station, which was playing a 2-hour tribute (made before his death): "Pavarotti: The Legend at 70." If you get an opportunity, I really recommend it.

There are interviews with Pavarotti and selections of his recordings discussed with great intelligence by the host and others. It's good to hear the young and early Pavarotti. They play his "Donna e mobile" from the first "extended play" recording he made. The voice is so very young, but already has the brilliance of tone that made him instantly recognizable to many of us who are not opera experts. Several people who worked with him at the time comment about how astonishing his voice -- and the discipline, enunciation, intonation, breath control, etc., he brought to it -- seemed at the time, given what most Italian tenors were doing (or not doing).

Renee Fleming mentions something that is very striking in these earlier recordings, the impression that this is all happening "seemingly without any effort whatsoever."

The highlight for me is the discussion -- followed by several long excerpts -- is his performance as Riccardo in Ballo in Maschera.

One of the most poignant aspects of the program is the way that everyone uses the present tense to discuss Pavarotti and his art. "He is." "He sings." Thanks to recordings, I suppose that this actually is the case.

He is. He sings.

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The tribute Bart mentioned will be broadcast on Swedish TV on Sunday if I understood the commentator correctly. What a wonderful thing to keep and cherish on DVD.

And thank you so much, Farrell Fan for sharing your lovely memories with us.

Mashinka, you are so right. This year we have lost so many truly great artists - I am also thinking of Bergman and Antonioni.

As it happened, one of The Three Tenors guested Sweden yesterday. Jose Carreras appeared for one performance only - unfortunately I was unable to attend, but I saw an interview with him on TV. He appeared to be absolutely devastated.

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The tribute Bart mentioned will be broadcast on Swedish TV on Sunday if I understood the commentator correctly. What a wonderful thing to keep and cherish on DVD.
Pamela, the program I referred to is a radio program, which allowed full-aria recordings.

I hope you'll report on your responses to the presentation on Swedish tv. Perhaps this is something that will also play here. ... eventually. :thanks:

A 6-minute obituary from the same producers -- prx ("public radio exchange") is here:


You have to register -- and await email confirmation -- before you can access the prx site.

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*sigh* I was shocked to find his picture in the newspapers today saying he is dead. He was the first opera singer the nuns taught us about in middle school and have loved every piece I've heard him sing on CAS. Such beauty in his voice; strong, passionate, full of depth. He has been like an idol to me and I wish him peace. It is true how many artists we are losing.

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It was the 1st live tele bcast fr. the Met. It was at the very top, in the Family Circle Standing rm. It was Boheme. It was the production before the current Zeffereli one. Renata Scotto was Mimi. She was wonderful also!

It was during the Act2 cafe scene. Right at the end of the act. The chorus, soloists, and the orchestra were at the apex of their collective crescendos. Full Power. Then right through all that sound, came Luciano's sound. It was not a blunt impact, but a power that was powerful in the way it enveloped you with its beauty, virile power, but above all, a warmth that enveloped you and filled you with a glow. This was my first great experience w opera. A chill went thru me too!!!!!

Bravo LP, King of the High Cs, eternally :):bow: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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The Charlie Rose Show (PBS) has rebroadcast an intereview from (I think) 2003.

I was struck by just how serious and intelligent he was about his art, something that might suprise audiences who knew him mostly in his role as the jovial popularizer. Looking back on his career, Pavarotti seems to consider his first Boheme, his Riccardo in Ballo and his Verdi Requiem for von Karajan as personal highlights of his career.

Of the performances I saw at the Met, the one that sticks in my memory most was something of a surprise. During Act I of Rosenkavalier, the Marschallin was performing her toilete and receiving clients, staff, and hangers-on. The door opened. In walked the Italian singer, an unexpected Pavarotti. He sang his lovely aria, was graciously acknowledged by the Marschallin, and departed. The audience was, as I remember it, rather like this: :)

More personal memories, please!

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well okay.

in 1973 i did some supering at the lyric opera, in la boheme, carmen and rosenkavalier. i didn't know it then, but that boheme was pavarotti's debut at the lyric opera, alongside ileana cotrubas as mimi. i was something like the third prostitute from the left in the back row in the 2nd act, and all i recall of my stage direction was that i was told to saunter about the stage with the other prostitutes seducing various members of the male chorus. up stage right there was a small staircase and at one point i was languidly leaning on it giving come hither looks to a singer, and another girl came over to me and whispered 'your skirt is covering the bottom step a little and he has to carry her up those stairs in a minute..." upon which i thanked her sotto voce and took my skirt and flounced away as though the gentlemen i had been trying to 'seduce' had offended me and indeed pavarotti carried her up those stairs a minute or two later.

it's not much of a memory but at the time, besides the fact that i was mesmerized by his voice, and could see very very little since i am so nearsighted and obviously could not wear my glasses, it is the memory i have of the occasion! and the only times i ever heard him sing live.

(you asked, bart...)

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More personal memories, please!

Ok, my serious opera going coincided with the start of Pav's Met career in the early 70s. His voice and personality very

incrediby bright; he sang beautifully, with conviction, and with great sincerity and charm. Seeing him in La Boheme with Adriana Maliponte , the opera seemed like it it had been just written for these two.

So I have lots and lots of memories; I saw all but a handful of the parts he did at the Met. He ran into problems in the 80s with a failed movie, and worse a decline in his popularity because he seemed to lose that sincere good natured quality to his singing. But he worked at it and bounced back.

Being honest, for me I cut down my performances around 1990, he was starting to phone performances in if he didn't cancel them. But for those much younger than me, they could go to those late last century performances and still get an idea of what he was all about.

To sum up, I have many, many, wonderful memories

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Ok, my serious opera going coincided with the start of Pav's Met career in the early 70s. His voice and personality very

incrediby bright; he sang beautifully, with conviction, and with great sincerity and charm. Seeing him in La Boheme with Adriana Maliponte , the opera seemed like it it had been just written for these two.

In a broacast on "The Vocal Scene" -- I think one of the "Muscial Odds and Ends" programs -- George Jellinek ended the program with an 80-year-old Martinelli singing, if I remember correctly, "Nessun Dorma" following by a live performance from possibly the debut of Pavarotti in La Boheme of "Mi chiamano Mimi." The quality of the miking wasn't that great, but the root of his golden years was already there.

I, too, started my opera-going days at the same time. Even more than in opera, I loved him in recital, singing each song as if it were a jewel, stopping time. I think he was best in the repertory of Italian song and in the more lyric tenor arias, where his phrasing was so natural, perfect for the golden sunny quality of his voice. I was reared on the greats from earlier generations, and didn't think that opera began with him the moment I started to listen to it, and I heard Tucker, Correlli, Vickers, and Domingo live as well during that time, but he was The One when my real love for opera was formed. His voice captured me, as much as I loved other great singers and worshipped my Bjorling recordings.

Sirius Metropolitan Opera Radio is broadcasting performances of Pavarotti each evening for the next week. I caught the very end of tonight's, a 1989 performance of Il Travatore with Aprile Millo and Fiorenza Cossotto, just in time for "Di quella pira." While his peak is generally said to have been in the 1970's, his voice was a clear as in his earlier years. (And I had forgotten how beautifully Millo sang.)

A 3-day trial subscription for online listening, albeit at a rougher quality than the subscribers get, is available at the Sirius website.

The schedule for the rest of the tribute broadcasts is:

Saturday, 8 September, 9:00 pm ET

Donizetti: L’Elisir D’Amore

4/29/1989 – Panni; Battle, Pavarotti, Quilico, Plishka

Sunday, 9 September, 9:00 pm ET

Puccini: Tosca

4/1/1995 – Oren; Holleque, Pavarotti, Pons

Monday, 10 September, 9:00 PM ET

Verdi: Rigoletto

2/10/1973-Levine; Wixell, Grist, Pavarotti, Macurdy, Grillo

Tuesday, 11 September, 9:00 PM ET

Verdi: Un Ballo in Maschera

2/15/1997-Levine; Voigt, Pavarotti, Pons, Dever, Shin

Wednesday, 12 September, 9:00 PM ET

Verdi: Luisa Miller

1/23/1982-Santi; Ricciarelli, Pavarotti, Nucci, Plishka, Cheek, Berini

Thursday, 13 September, 9:00 PM ET

Bellini: I Puritani (Met Opera Radio Debut)

3/13/1976-Bonynge; Sutherland, Pavarotti, Milnes, Morris


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From today's NY Times, a mini-history of Tenors and the High C, with a striking photo of Pavarotti, King of the High C's, caught in the act.

There are some interesting hypotheses about what fascinates us so much about High C's, including

“The reason it’s so exciting to people is, it’s based on the human cry,†said Maitland Peters, chairman of the voice department at the Manhattan School of Music. “It’s instinctual. It’s like a baby. You’re pulled into it.†When a tenor sings a ringing high C, it seems, “there’s nothing in his way,†Mr. Peters said.
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