Saturday, September 6, 2008

A legend remembered

Exactly one year ago today, one of the great tenor voices of our time, perhaps of all time, died. I’m speaking, of course, of Luciano Pavarotti, Italy’s gift to the world.

In case you don’t follow opera, one of Pavarotti’s signature arias was “Nessun Dorma” from the opera Turandot by Giacomo Puccini (or as his friends called him, Jim. I’m kidding, I’m kidding! But another Italian composer of grand opera, Giuseppe Verdi, is actually Joe Green in English).

Since Pavarotti’s death, he is all over YouTube. In case you never heard his magnificent voice, here is a younger, trimmer Luciano Pavarotti singing "Nessun Dorma" in 1990 with Zubin Mehta directing the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and here is Luciano Pavarotti singing “Nessun Dorma” in 1994 with Zubin Mehta directing the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. For some strange reason, this version has Spanish subtitles..

Here is Pavarotti singing “Granada” at an Eiffel Tower concert in Paris in 1998. Zubin Mehta is nowhere in sight. This time the maestro is American conductor James Levine. And here, later that same evening, from that same Eiffel Tower concert in Paris in 1998, is Pavarotti singing “Nessun Dorma“ in one of his most emotional renditions.

One of Luciano Pavarotti’s last public performances was at the opening of the Winter Olympic Games in Torino, Italy, in 2006, but there was a catch. It was revealed later that he was lip-synching. The entire orchestra and the conductor were just pretending. At first, Pavarotti had turned down the invitation to sing at the games because he felt he would not be able to sing well in the cold, outdoor, night air. But the organizers of the opening ceremonies persuaded him to record his performance in the studio a few days earlier so that he could represent Italy and Italian culture at the games’ opening ceremonies.

Happy listening!


  1. Nothing is more wonderful than Pavarotti singing "Nessun Dorma." It lifts my heart every time. Thanks, for this.

    Did you get my comment on the short story you posted in April?

  2. Hi, Ruth! I'm glad you enjoyed my post about Luciano Pavarotti. That year went by fast. I was a bit surprised to receive your comment on Saturday evening at 9:02 PM because I had scheduled the post to be published at 2:00 AM on Sunday. Apparently the blogspot folks are on some other time zone -- GMT maybe?

    I did get your comment on my short story, and I posted a reply to you there. But here it is so you won't have to go searching for it:

    "Ruth, thank you for your very kind comments about "Birthright" --I appreciate them more than you can know.

    I hid this story away for many years, but it was time for it to see the light of day. I told my own children only three or four years ago about my being illegitimate (what an ugly word). I was raised in a very different era from today. One never spoke of such things, and I feared I would be guilty of betraying my mother.

    Writing this story was extremely difficult for me but the process turned out to be cathartic."

  3. I'm a whole day ahead of myself. I meant Friday evening at 9:02 PM and Saturday at 2:00 AM. Not that it's important, I suppose, except that I myself apparently am not in my own time zone but somewhere near the International Date Line.

  4. I had checked back with the story a couple of times, but missed your reply to my comment. I really did think it was quite well done.

    You can set your blog to be on your own time zone. It's under preferences somewhere. (Sheesh, it took me three tries to type "somewhere" instead of someone or someway. Maybe going off caffeine wasn't such a good idea.)

  5. Thanks for the remembrance of Pavarotti and the links. His voice so amazing, a true gift....singing appears effortless to him!

  6. Thank you for reminding me of his death.He was a giant in many ways, and one I truly enjoyed listening to. I guess you don't care much for my politics or my faith, or both, but I hope you don't mind if I leave a comment from time to time Bob, I truly enjoy your blog. :)

  7. Sherry (afeatheradrift), I was surprised by your comment! I don't think I know one blessed thing (pun intended) about your faith. I *do* know about your politics, though -- that comes through loud and clear the few times I've read your blog! I don't (or at least try not to) make political comments online -- the voting booth is where I do *my* talking; I am, after all, a part of the "Silent Generation" and I have always believed in the secret ballot.

  8. P.S. to Sherry -- Don't be silly! Of course I "don't mind" if you leave a comment from time to time. As long as the discourse is civil and the language is not blue! :)