Musical tributes and movie honor timeless Pavarotti

MARIELLA RADAELLI

It is almost 10 years since Luciano Pavarotti’s passing on September 6, 2007, though his legacy will live on forever. He one of the few opera singers to win crossover fame as a popular superstar.

“I would like to be remembered as man who brought opera to the masses,” the legendary tenor said in an interview. The most beloved and celebrated tenor since Caruso will be remembered for that, but also for his robust and passionate life.

For Modena, Pavarotti’s hometown, and his fans all over the world, the loss still feels fresh. Last May a colorful mural of his smiling face was painted on via Mazzoni to welcome visitors to town.
Tributes to Luciano Pavarotti
Three Tenors: The two surviving members of the legendary trio, Placido Domingo and José Carreras, will perform at an evening tribute show on September 6 at the Arena di Verona.

A tribute to Big Luciano will start from Modena early in the morning on September 6, when the Casa-Museo Pavarotti will offer free admission. The foundation that oversees the Pavarotti home and museum has done an excellent job preserving both his home and personal artifacts.

Also on September 6, a book entitled Luciano, il sole nella voce will be released by the Fondazione Pavarotti as an authoritative chronicle of his career. It will be presented at the Casa Museo.

To honor the longstanding impression his timeless voice and immaculate musical expressiveness have provided and memorialize the 10-year anniversary of his death, Placido Domingo and José Carreras will join forces for an evening tribute show on September 6 at the Arena di Verona.

It will be a show from the heart, featuring the two great tenors who together with Luciano made the Three Tenors phenomenon possible. The Three Tenors in Concert recorded live in Rome at the Baths of Caracalla on July 7, 1990 is the world’s best-selling album in classical music.

A vast Roman amphitheater built in the 1st century AD, Arena di Verona with its 30,000-spectator capacity is the world’s largest open-air opera venue.

Nicoletta Mantovani, Pavarotti’s second wife, has announced the initial lineup for Pavarotti 10th Anniversary, revealing that the special concert in Verona will include performances by friends, former collaborators and also the best talents among the new generation of Italian tenors — those “Luciano appreciated and encouraged very much such as Francesco Meli and Vittorio Grigolo”, she says. Grigolo especially was honored as his last pupil. The performance will also include the soprano Angela Gheorghiu and tenor Fabio Armiliato.

Pavarotti & Friends, the wonderful charity concert series from 1992 to 2000 that brought together the world’s greatest pop performers with Luciano, will be represented in Verona by Zucchero, whose crossover duets with Pavarotti remain memorable.
Pavarotti
Sparkle and shine: “I always think I'm one of the happiest kids in the world,” Pavarotti said.

Nicola Piovani is among the special guests scheduled to attend the event aired live by Rai 1. The composer will play a new song dedicated to Maestro Pavarotti.

As well, there will be a Pavarotti tribute concert in New York in 2018.

Big Luciano made his debut at the Teatro Municipale in Reggio Emilia on April 29 1961 in the part of Rodolfo in La Bohème. He became a superstar 11 years later, on February 17, 1972, when he sang Tonio in Donizetti's La Figlia del Reggimento at the New York Met. "I had to sing nine high Cs in a row before I won the public's attention," he said later.

He recorded voluminously, compiling a discography that extends to 110 albums. He became a best-selling classical artist with more than 100 million records sold and had the first classical album to reach No. 1 on the pop charts.

An authorized biopic on Pavarotti is also in the works with Ron Howard directing. It will be produced with cooperation from the Pavarotti Estate, Universal Music Classics and Decca Records.

“We are honored to have Ron Howard among our guests in Verona,” says Mantovani.

The Verona tribute concert will raise money for an UNHCR education program called Educate a Child that provides access to education for children affected by conflict and forced displacement in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Pavarotti was noted for his charity work on behalf of children, refugees and the Red Cross, among others.

In 2001, Kofi Annan, then secretary-general of the United Nations, praised Pavarotti for his help to Afghan children long before the war on terrorism began. “You have been an inspiration to all of us,” Annan told Pavarotti.

“I always think I'm one of the happiest kids in the world,” Pavarotti said.

“He had a childlike charm and was a generous man,” says Nicoletta Mantovani. “He himself was a war child in Italy. War marked his childhood but since then music was able to make him happy. He was always very determined to extend a helping hand to less fortunate children,” she says.

“I hope to be an honest person, honest with myself, with people I love and my audience. I hope to be remembered for that,” he said in an interview.

“During his career he supported the growth of young singers. He taught them until the end, mindful of that early teacher who gave lessons for free to Luciano when he could not afford to pay,” Mantovani says.

“That’s why we honor his memory by making his dream come true through the Fondazione Pavarotti: Giving a stage to talented young operatic singers,” she says. “I’m excited: Luciano is still here with us.”

Sure, he is, with the vibrancy of his heavenly voice.