(Photo: Benjamin Ealovega)
Ashutosh Khandekar - Editor
From the current issue of Opera Now
It seems fitting to begin the series with a character who was larger than life in all its aspects. Luciano Pavarotti would have been 80 years old on 12 October. Pavarotti’s life as a singer brought him worldwide fame and untold fortune of the kind that you rarely associate with classical music. Beyond the opera house, his name was linked with the likes of Frank Sinatra, James Brown, U2’s front man Bono and Aretha Franklin, who once stood in for the indisposed tenor to sing a rousing soul version of ‘Nessun dorma’ at the Grammy Awards. Artists from all sorts of different fields warmed to a man who really did have a popular touch, with a voice that stirred the hearts and souls of 1.3 billion people in the case of Three Tenors concert that was televised from Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium in 1994.
Whereas many best-selling and ‘crossover’ artists in the classical music world these days are manufactured, there was something guileless and unaffected about Pavarotti’s artistry that resisted manipulation and spin. He actually lived up to all the hype. True, the tenor’s career was guided by canny impresarios and entrepreneurs, but they harnessed rather than fashioned an image that became imprinted in the popular imagination across many cultures. Who, after all, could have imagined that an extremely overweight, perspiration-prone man with an unkempt beard and dressed in a crumpled dinner jacket would become a global superstar?
As Pavarotti himself said, it’s difficult to fake an emotion as a singer. Audiences recognise authenticity when they hear it, and Luciano Pavarotti was the real thing.
We hope you enjoy remembering and celebrating Pavarotti in the first of Rhinegold’s Legends of Music series in this issue. Future editions will run across various magazines in Rhinegold’s extensive stable, including Classical Music and International Piano.
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