Remembering the late Luciano Pavarotti on his birthday
As I walked into work today, an editor mentioned that it was Luciano Pavarotti's birthday. The immensely gifted and popular Italian tenor would have turned 74 today. (Yes, I know, I do a lot of birthday salutes on this blog. What can I say? I live in the past. Get over it.)
Pavarotti died in 2007, the same year that Beverly Sills passed away. The two artists performed Bellini's "I Puritani" in 1972, an event that was, fortunately, recorded. I thought I would use that extraordinary occasion to offer a salute to Pavarotti, since it captures him in peak form, spinning out the elegant melodic lines of "A te o caro," one of the most beautiful tenor arias in the repertoire. (I prefer to remember Pavarotti from his pre-arena-concert-by-rote-singing days.) And we get to enjoy Sills, one of my all-time favorites, in a few ardent notes as well.
Also, this performance was led by Anton Guadagno, who died in 2002. The Italian conductor, underrated in some corners, had an innate sense of style (and a wildly dynamic personality).
All three artists served the operatic art in treasured ways, and hearing them together on this live recording seems like a fitting way to commemorate the anniversary of Pavarotti's birth.