Friday, September 7, 2007

Requiescat In Pace, Maestro

I will admit that I have never been much of an opera fan. Come to think of it, the only one in my family who ever admitted to liking opera was my Uncle Bill - he who lived for years in San Diego, had long hair past his shoulders, and introduced me to Elton John for the very first time. Just goes to show you really can't judge a book by its cover.

Still, even though I am admittedly not an opera fan, I know good music when I hear it and Luciano Pavarotti was the master of good music. When he opened his mouth and sang, I almost wished I was an opera fan the music was so good. Sadly, the man who could sing anything he put his mind to up to and including Ordinary World with Simon LeBon, Stormy Monday with Eric Clapton, or even Come Back to Sorrento with Meat Loaf (yes, Meat Loaf!) left this earthly plane yesterday to take his place among the angels.

For an excellent tribute to the magic that was Pavarotti, please read Jamie's post at Duward Discussion as she can do it so much better than I ever could. As the world says good-bye to another of it's great talents, what I really wanted to leave you with was the best version of Ave Maria I have ever heard. It gives me goosebumps every time.

Arrivederci, Luciano, ed รจ con gli angeli.


  1. You know, I love opera. I don't understand a word of it, but seeing an opera in person chill you to the bone. Just the sheer thrill of hearing these people manipulate their voices like that...astounding.

    I happened to be a part of an "Opera Club" in high school. At first I only signed up because it was a day in NYC but then I went back every year because it was fantastic.

    And, I got to hear him sing. In person. At the Met.

    It was amazing.

  2. I am sure that had I ever had the opportunity to hear Pavarotti sing in person, I would have been a born-again opera fan right there and then.

    I was watching the You Tube video of him singing "My First, My Last, My Everything" with Barry White and it brought tears to my eyes as I have always loved Barry White's music (I was a teen in the late 70's so cut me some slack on that one!) and to hear the two of them together was just a-ma-zing! I could just imagine the two of them singing together in heaven again.

    Sometimes with music, you really don't appreciate it until you hear it performed live and I seem to remember my Uncle Bill telling me that very thing. He couldn't understand a thing they were singing but it was so beautiful he didn't need to. He died way too young himself so I'm kind of hoping he gets to hear Pavarotti again himself in that big amphitheater in the sky.

    Good grief - this comment is almost as long as the post!!

  3. Linda, I'm sure he's got a front row seat. 8)

  4. I too am not an opera fan but attending a performance is on my "To Do At Least Once in My Life" list. Sadly, that event will not include the incredible Pavarotti.

  5. An excellent post that shown how good he was. Well written, Linda.

  6. Pavarotti's forte was the exquisite control he had while singing in an impossible high register. He could go from fortissimo to pianissimo with unbelievable ease and beauty. Someone once asked him how he did it, expecting a complicated technical explanation no doubt. He answered simply, "I just sing softer."

    This became a bit of a joke among professional musicians who sometimes commented on his lack of intellectual prowess. I disagree.
    I've performed Italian arias and Puccini opera - it does take technical ability - but what Pavarotti had could never be taught in a voice studio. If you get a chance, find the legendary version of Puccini's "Nessun Dorma" (translated No One Will Sleep) on YouTube from the last act of Turandot.

    His voice sang from Heaven.
    Pure magic. He will be missed.

  7. I don't know what Megs would recommend for a first opera but I would put the following three on the list.

    La Boheme (simply because everyone knows the story that has been told seven ways for Sunday) This had aria in the movie Moonstruck. Also the musical, "RENT" is the updated rock version.

    La Traviata (Camille bites the dust ONE MORE TIME) This one was the opera in "Pretty Woman" because Camille had a similar profession.

    The Marriage of Figaro (Mozart tangling the war between the sexes every way possible with comedic results)

  8. Jamie: La Traviata is a good one. Also, one of my firsts was Madame Butterfly...

  9. We are all jealous of Mags. I so loved his voice, but to hear him in person would have been awesome. Great tribute Linda. :)

  10. my mom was an opera fan but I have never been. Still he had the greatest voice. Now opera has lost two of it's best spokespeople. Luciano and Beverly sills.

  11. There are very few things that stop me in my tracks...the voice of the Maestro was one of those things.

    He made it seem so effortless.


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