Thursday, September 06, 2007

Luciano Pavarotti: A Personal Eulogy

Dear Luciano,

As a young student, living in Philadelphia, I knew little of opera. My first taste of classical vocal stylings were served by contestants introduced by Bert Parks from Atlantic City. My palette had not been whetted.

But, to fulfill an assignment for a first level music appreciation class, I went to the Academy of Music on Broad St., to hear a concert. It was high class stuff for a girl from the hills.
Any concert would have served to gain a check in the right column of the professor's grade book. I was fortunate enough to have stumbled upon a concert performance by one of opera's rising stars, a young Luciano Pavarotti.

Your artistry didn't just titillate my taste buds, it established an insatiable appetite for the most beautiful and complete music on the planet. There you stood, an overweight thirty something singer holding your signature white kerchief. Your Bel Canto vocal style became the definition of perfect technique for a generation. My husband would later say, while watching you perform, "Look! Look at his mouth, look at his face! Amazing!"

Later that year, trying to sate my new hunger for opera, I saw one of the last performances of Andre Chenier with Richard Tucker in the title role. It was you who stole the title of world's greatest tenor from Tucker, I suppose.

In the ensuing years I listened to you sing, mostly on Saturday afternoons, huddled near a radio, listening to the Metropolitan Opera Texaco broadcasts, or cherishing records, tapes, then CDs, and videos. You were always masterful, your voice a treasure. Thank you, thank you for the gifts of beauty that you bestowed, performance after performance upon our world.

My daughter, AnneGG, just called in tears. She, too, was responding to your passing and commented in gratitude for the world of beauty that you helped open to her. It was Nessun Dorma that made her cry this morning as some radio jockey spun it in tribute to you for the AM listeners. She and I got misty together just talking about that aria by Puccini, which you made so much your own. "No one sleeps. No one sleeps." It was not the first time your Nessun Dorma has made me cry. I'm sure that it won't be the last.



1 comment:

Anne G G said...

Glad to see you posted about this. Love you.