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Thoughts on Pavarotti

I’ve been listening to Luciano Pavarotti of late. Paying my respects. I think a lot of people will be going back and listening to him. Somewhere in the immense silence that follows will be a slowly dawning recognition of what has been lost to us.
I’m not going to be one to rush forth and offer some melodramatic platitude about Humanity losing an angel, or about how the choir in Heaven just got a lot better. I don’t think such insipid drivel does justice to the enormity of this man’s talent. Hell, the word “talent” doesn’t do him justice.
I read an article by a critic titled; Luciano Pavarotti: was he a really a giant? In the article the author suggested that while Pavarotti had a great voice, that perhaps he was somewhat over-rated. At least in the technical sense. The author was of the opinion that Placido Domingo, Nicolai Gedda and Fritz Wunderlich had better voices.
As ever, the critics have missed something fundamental. As wonderful as Domingo’s voice is, he’s never made me cry.
Pavarotti’s influence goes far beyond his voice. However the critics might want to argue about banal semantics, when I was a kid who was listening to nothing but hard rock and heavy metal, it was a chance encounter with Pavarotti who opened my eyes to not only Opera, but to Classical Music. He opened up a whole new world for me.
When I decided to take a look back, I came across the perfect example of Pavarotti’s greatness. A YouTube video of his performance of Una furtiva Lagrima. I sat there watching the video with tears running down my cheeks. Not because I was so overly emotional over Pavarotti’s death, but because of the emotional range of Pavarotti’s performance.
In the end, if you can watch this video and not be moved, you’re not human. Or you’re a critic. Either way … I pity you.

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