Thursday, September 06, 2007

Luciano Pavarotti, 1935-2007


Music needs characters like Luciano Pavarotti now more than ever. That makes news of the icon's death even more painful. As they're being increasingly pushed aside by other mediums, classical, jazz and folk musics require flamboyant, larger-than-life ambassadors. Not to take anything away from the artistic merits of Yo-Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis or Doc Watson, but their personalities don't lend themselves to the challenge of providing warm, immediately engaging representations of their individual genres as did Pavarotti.

The Kansas City Star provides a local angle on Pavarotti's death. His 1973 "international solo recital debut" was in Kansas City. While the New York Times obituary makes for entertaining reading, it comes across as unnecessarily cruel. It asserts that Pavarotti "seemed increasingly willing to accept pedestrian musical standards," "was not an intellectual presence," and had a "dominant gift for soliciting admiration from large numbers of people."

Pavarotti's best loved work may have been Puccini's Tosca, heard here on this hit 1990 recording. He sings a triumphant rendition of the same piece here.

Kansas City Click: I'd like to see more of Pavarotti's carefree consequences-be-damned attitude from Gretchen Wilson. She was initially billed as a wild outlaw, but Wilson seems to have been overly obsequious lately. She's at Ameristar tonight.

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