Friday, September 7, 2007

Godspeed Luciano - 15 Pavarotti-inspired items

Friday Fifteen

1. I really enjoy opera. I don't particularly enjoy going to opera, but I love listening to it, especially when cooking certain dishes and hiking.

2. There was one of the most simple, but wonderful, posts yesterday by Betsy of Blog Ness Monster. The gift she spoke about is a very personal gift. The voice of a Luciano Pavarotti is a gift to the world.

3. For a lovely clip of the beauty of Pavarotti's voice, visit NYC/Caribbean Ragazza's blog and see the wonderful clip.

4. In 12th grade, my NYC school, along with 3 or 4 other NYC schools was chosen by the Metropolitan Opera to do a modified production of La Boheme, using materials and a scenario and score developed by the Met.

5. We also got to see a dress rehearsal of La Boheme, starring Pavarotti as Rudolfo, and the leads were generous enough to meet with their teen counterparts. I was able to meet with David Reppa, the Set Designer, as I was the set designer for our production.

6. The production (the Metropolitan's, not ours) was legendary and you can still buy a DVD of the production. This is a clip of Pavarotti and Placido Domingo and doing O Mimi tu Piu No from La Boheme, as Rudolfo proclaims his love for, and sorrow about, Mimi. It's from a Met Gala in 1991, complete with Japanese subtitles. Pavarotti's voice was even more lovely in 1977, from what I can recall. And no, Domingo was not with Pavarotti in the 1977 production, sadly.

7. I was not excited about opera when I was in high school, despite these incredibly rich experiences. I did enjoy the dress rehearsal we saw, and I liked listening to it on the radio, occasionally, if it was playing on Sunday morning and I was sprawled with a bagel and the Sunday New York Times.

8. I really became hooked on opera when I saw my favorite movie of all time: A Room with a View. This clip gives you both a feeling for the film and for the way it used opera.

9. The music in that movie was magnificent and my favorite piece is O Mio Babbino Caro, sung beautifully here by Kiri Te Kanawa, as she does in the film .

10. I found this piece and some others on this Kiri Te Kanawa CD, and I've played it at least once a week ever since (and that was a good 20 years ago).

11. A pure, top opera voice is a thing of indescribable beauty and the world was lucky to have had Luciano Pavarotti as long as we did.

12. As often follows with a great talent, though, his life was tumultuous, and I'm not certain those who loved him would entirely share the opinion of the world, especially his long-suffering first wife.

13. I believe, though, that sometimes it's the gusto with which you live that allows you to be a truly great artist. There is ample evidence that great creativity and great madness are linked. I believe that the idea of Bacchus may well have grown from the behavior of ancient entertainers.

14. Pancreatic cancer is probably one of the bleakest deaths and I feel very sad that it decimated this proud, over-the-top artiste. I would have preferred that Pavarotti keel over from a heart attack, at the ripe old age of 89, after having consumed a sumptuous and many-coursed meal, with sycophants and his beloved second wife by his side.

15. You Tube is filled with clips of Pavarotti (sometimes accompanied by Domingo and Carreras, the other two of the famed Three Tenors) singing Nessun Dorma, Death Watch, due to both this being one of his signature pieces and for the fact of its irony this week, but I choose instead to leave you with this clip of U2 and Pavarotti paired for Miss Sarajevo. While Pavarotti's contribution here is very brief, his voice soars to the heavens, and he was in his element - the video starts with his kissing Diana on the red carpet (he was close to her and was devastated when she died), and shows him in the middle of the glitz and glamor that he loved so much. It also is a tribute to his work with both the Red Cross and refugees. And the mood just seems right.


anno said...

As a fan of great voices of all types, it was good to see this tribute to one of the greatest. Thanks for a lovely post.

So many people feel alienated by opera. Like you, I first fell in love with it via a movie. For me, it was Diva, a french farce featuring a messenger boy, organized crime, bootlegging Japanese syndicates, an opera star who refused to be recorded, and a beautiful nymphette on roller skates. Come to think of it, kind of an operatic plot.

pseudowife said...

He truly was one of those blessed freaks of nature, a perfect musical instrument in human form. I am not a keen tenor fan but he went damn close to converting me.

jennifer said...

Pavarotti put on a charity concert every year in Italy called Pavarotti and Friends, where I saw him sing with everyone from Sting to Zucchero to Alicia Keys. He really could sing almost anything!

Jen said...

Oh, Anno, I have to see Diva!!! I always wanted to. Maybe we'll try to rent it this weekend.

You know, Fi, I'm not really a tenor person myself, but I just thought his voice goes in the ears like honey down the throat.

Oh, Jennifer, once again I'm jealous of your Italian adventures!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

wonderful post Jen. When I get a moment I am def. going to check out the links you posted.

Unknown said...

Jen, thank you for taking the time to acknowledge the humanity so evident in Pavarotti, for not making harsh judgements on his personal life, and for underscoring the light that has gone out of our world with his passing.

Fourier Analyst said...

Beautiful post Jen. However, I now am totally and utterly jealous yet again of Jennifer's (the Verge) Italian adventures. The closest to any famous live singers I've been was when Il Divo sang on the beach in the Hague. And yes, it was fantastic. It is good to know there are a few special voices that will slowly fill the voids being left by the greats we have come to know over the years.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for stopping by to read my meme post!

I loved yours...Pavarotti was awesome!

To answer your question about the words I chose... it was a combination of how they sound...and definition or how they make me feel when I say them...the image, memory etc...they invoke.

After listing about 300 words on Wordie...I've realized that I have a "thing" for 3 to 5 syllable words...something rhythmic or lyrical about them... (or some crap like that... ha, ha...) I think most people are like that though...

1. mahogany-sound
2. tranquility-sound and feeling
3. chrysalis-sound and meaning
4. chaos-sound and meaning
5. beckoning-sound and feeling
6. requiem-sound and emotion
7. september-sound and memory
8. odyssey-sound
9. ecclesiastic-sound
10. heliocentric-sound
11. apocalyptic-sound
12. benevolent-sound
13. halcyon-sound
14. cthulhu-sound and story
15. scythe-sound and the way it looks...ha,, it's a font that I like. :P

Jenn in Holland said...

The mood does seem just right Jen. Lovely post. Really lovely.

Karen said...

Great comments about Pavarotti.

Jen said...

FA - I'm jealous of your going to a beach concert at The Hague ;-)

Greg - it's very sad when we lose anyone, and especially someone who gives gifts to others of any sort. There was a pizza guy here who died quite quickly of COPD in his late 40s. He was kind of universally loved because he was such a nice guy. Now this guy was also a good husband, etc., etc., but who are any of us to look a gift horse in the mouth. Artists (as all of us) can be complicated.

Christy and Karen - thanks for stopping by!

Jenn - thanks for the kind words!

Dedee said...

I loved this. Thanks for sharing!

Rebecca said...

I too started enjoying opera through a movie (Amadeus again)
Fantastic post.

Betsy said...

Thanks for the links! ...and not just the one to me, either! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Pavarotti's voice was truly exceptional - undeniable even to those who aren't fans of opera. Lovely post!