Thursday, September 06, 2007

May the shouter rest in peace*

Most people who are interested in classical music already know that Luciano Pavarotti died this morning. It was interesting seeing how students reacted to the news. The ones that were saddened were also horrified when other students said "who?"

WGBH has posted a 1972 interview with Luciano on their website. They also sent a press release with details of the interview:
On Monday, April 10, 1972 during the radio program Morning pro musica hosted by Robert J. Lurtsema, WGBH 89.7 in Boston featured an interview with a rising opera star named Luciano Pavarotti. The interview was recorded from a phone conversation between WGBH 89.7 host Ron Della Chiesa and the tenor that took place on March 14, less than a month after Pavarotti's now legendary 1972 New York Metropolitan Opera appearance. This was a pivotal point in the tenor's career. He was making musical history at the Met, singing the role of Tonio in Donizetti's "Daughter of the Regiment". The role includes the demanding aria "Ah! mes amis, quel jour de fĂȘte!" Often called the "Mount Everest" for tenors, the aria features 9 exposed, high Cs in rapid-fire succession--requiring monumental vocal dexterity. According to the Kennedy Center biography for Pavarotti, he made history by being the first tenor to sing those 9 high C's loudly, musically, in full voice (i.e. not falsetto.) As Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and cultural critic Manuela Hoelterhoff described the triumph, "Pavarotti stepped to the footlights and sang all nine as if he were flipping pancakes into his mouth. The crowd roared." This is when he was crowned the "King of the High C's". In this historic interview, Ron Della Chiesa speaks with the tenor about his childhood in Modena, his thoughts about the great tenors of the past, his plans for future recordings, and --of course-- the unprecedented musical accomplishment that launched him to international superstardom.
*The title comes from an appearance Luciano made on David Letterman. He was explaining to Dave how to sing, and said it was basically controlled shouting.

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