Photo: Paolo Ferrari/AP
The opera and singing world lost another great voice this morning. While Signor Pavarotti didn’t inspire me the way Beverly Sills did, he was an incomparable singer nonetheless. The thing I loved about Pavarotti was his ability to reach out to audiences of all sorts and engage them with his charm and joie-de-vivre. Like Beverly Sills, I found him great fun to watch, because he so clearly loved what he was doing. He even made the dreadful “Three Tenors” phenomenon more bearable.
I never got to see him perform in person, alas. I did have one fun Pavarotti experience though. In the late 80s, when he was still performing actively, I went on a backstage tour of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City (one of the best ways to spend a Saturday morning, BTW) with my husband. During the tour, they took us to the costume department, which was fascinating on several levels for me. We couldn’t touch any of the current season’s costumes, but they had a rack of the previous season’s that we could examine to our hearts’ contents. One item on the rack was a pair of breeches that Pavarotti wore for performances of Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amor”. DH and I could both have fit inside those pants, with plenty of room to spare!
Yes, he lived large, and he shared his talent with largesse and graciousness. His voice and his personality will be missed.