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My family recently watched the documentary Pavarotti, directed by Ron Howard. We loved it. I think this is the first time my five-year-old Mia Sarah was glued to the TV when it wasn’t showing cartoons. I highly recommend this documentary – but then, I’m biased (NPR was unimpressed).

Pavarotti’s 1990 concert “The Three Tenors,” where he was joined by Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras, was one of my earlier introductions to opera, and it was when I fell in love with opera. On top of having a beautiful, powerful voice that communicated emotion like no other, Pavarotti brought opera to the masses by doing “The Three Tenors” and “Pavarotti & Friends” concerts, where he sang with pop stars.

Some opined that the “Pavarotti & Friends” concerts cheapened opera. I disagree. We live in a world where we are surrounded by so much easier, more accessible entertainment choices than sitting through a two-hour opera composed two centuries years ago, sung in a foreign language. Pavarotti’s concerts brought opera to people who otherwise would have never experienced it.

In fact, these concerts were ingenious; they pointed up the incredible contrast between pop music and opera. As much as I love, let’s say, Sting or Queen’s Brian May, their voices are so easily overshadowed by the power of Pavarotti, who lives in a different vocal universe.

Pavarotti’s popular concerts made the world a better place and introduced millions (including yours truly) to opera and changed their lives forever.

As I was browsing through Pavarotti’s videos I stumbled on this incredible video of Luciano Pavarotti signing with his father.

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César Franck


  • Gary M Douglas says:

    Pavarotti story-telling is sheer delight. I had no idea he had such a good sense of humor and seems to enjoy making fun of himself. Great stories. Don’t pass that last one up.

  • Chet Moore says:

    Pavarotti will be missed, both for his voice and for his insights and humor.

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