Friday, September 07, 2007

Tribute to a tenor

I do not like opera. I fail to appreciate the grandiose style of the music, the incomprehensible lyrics in foreign languages, and the hoity-toity, "cultured" airs its fans put on. However, I cannot deny the awesome talent of opera singers, who can belt out notes that most pop/rock performers can only dream of reaching. Of course I am unfamiliar with even the most popular names in the opera scene, but I cannot not know a legend like Luciano Pavarotti. Indeed, the man was so renowned that even our masahista recognized him on sight when she saw TV news footage on the tenor's passing. In a country like the Philippines where opera is practically non-existent and the masses care more for nonsensical novelty songs used as game show themes, that's saying something.

Watching the news coverage of Pavarotti's death, I was struck by the universal appeal of a man whose career was built on an art with such a small, select fan base. The King of High Cs, as he was hailed, was arguably the best opera tenor of our time, but more than his prodigious talent, he had a personality that went beyond the high-brow music he sang so well. He had an aura of joviality and warmth that made him accessible and unintimidating. Despite being criticized for condescending to perform with pop acts like Sting, Bono and even the Spice Girls (!!), the man accepted gigs at charity events and concerts that allowed him to reach a wider audience. And that audience responded in kind, as Pavarotti proved that the foie gras of opera can be palatable to the man on the street when served as a burger with all the fixings.

Now that he has lost his battle with pancreatic cancer, Pavarotti leaves a gaping void in the world of opera. The golden voice that touched and awed millions across the globe-- opera fans and non-fans alike-- is now silenced, and undoubtedly, those of us who knew of Pavarotti will never forget him. More than the music, it's the man we will all miss.


At Saturday, September 08, 2007, Blogger Sean said...

Pavarotti "humanized" opera for me. Before he came around, I held certain negative stereotypes about the art -- mostly concerning fat old ladies with voices that could break glass. Then his "The Three Tenors" performance came around, and I was surprised that three opera singers could laugh, joke around, and rib each other on stage just like the rest of us probably would.

Somehow, I feel that Pavarotti wasn't an opera singer who just happened to perform a bunch of non-classical songs; He was a singer whose main profession just happened to involve opera. He sought to entertain people without taking himself too seriously in the process, and we're all the more richer because of him. I feel that he was a good man, and his loss will be felt significantly.

At Saturday, September 08, 2007, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Your comment put my blog post to shame. :)

At Sunday, September 09, 2007, Blogger Sean said...

To your credit, it took me more than a few tries to write this -- I took it from a failed draft that was supposed to eulogize the man. :)


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