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Sep 8, 2007

Pavarotti "aroused disgust"?

By Jim Fryar.

The following is from
Expatia and is worth a comment: -

The life of Luciano Pavarotti was ‘one big opera’, De Telegraaf writes, about the tenor who died on Thursday. “The strongest voice in the world led a tragic life.” According to Trouw, Pavarotti aroused disgust with ‘the crazy merchandising surrounding his mega performances’. But ‘that phenomenal voice’ was still greatly admired.

In a photograph made by Anton Corbijn a tough and not the usual friendly or congenial Pavarotti is looking at the readers of De Volkskrant on the front page. The paper carries a report from Italy where Pavarotti’s voice can be heard all day on the radio. “In some respects Pavarotti was the personification of Italy, not only his voice and repertoire –Donizetti, Puccini, Verdi - but also the constant factors - opera , drama, pathos and pasta- with which he attracted publicity during his entire life.”

Pavarotti was always worth a listen but was not one of my favorites. I don't really have a favorite opera singer, it is not my favorite medium, although if in the mood I quite enjoy it. I tend to prefer the choruses, especially The Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves, it just melts me.

The problem I have with opera is the elitist attitude that goes with it, 'we are bloody good and therefore you yobbos should be taxed to pay our way, even if you don't like us',kind of thing. The people who go along feel that the world owes them, subsidies so they can get their highbrow entertainment.

Pavarotti always struck me as 'up himself', but had plenty of reason to be, he was one of the best and had plenty of acolytes to tell him so. I had a great deal of respect for him, but wouldn't want him as a friend.

One of the things I greatly admired about him was the fact that he and his mates, Carreras and Domingo did more to promote opera and to commercialise it than any one else, so why: -  
Pavarotti aroused disgust with ‘the crazy merchandising surrounding his mega performances’. But ‘that phenomenal voice’ was still greatly admired?

It is as if it is a sin to be commercial, to pay your own way, to bring elitist entertainment out to the people and to attract them and let them enjoy it. They opened a whole new world to many and created a whole new mass entertainment.

The same applied to cricket, a favorite sport here, along with Rugby League and
Australian Football, (you Americans and others have to see the latter to believe it). Cricket was in the doldrums, had lost a lot of its appeal when along came Kerry Packer, who, when he couldn't get approval for his ideas, bought players and created his own national teams, popularised it with the one day format, and created commercial cricket. It is now very popular and the elite players make money to die for.

You will still hear the purists bemoaning the fact that it is not still 'the old game' you played for the love of it. One of them was going on a while ago about how one of the greatest wicket keepers of all time had tatty old gloves as the pay they received on tour didn't allow him to afford new ones. What is so great, about a world class athlete being in that position.

Who cares what the pompous left wing elitists sneering down on the 'common man' and all he stands for, while maintaining they know best what is good for him, think?


  1. I don't care for Opera, though I love the non-vocal music, being a Classical afficianado. Seems to me the twits who turn up their noses at commercial success are those who have no understanding of Art of any kind. Thus they sneer at the lyrical sounds of Tchaikovsky while genuflecting to the dissonant cacophany of Mahler or Helmuth. They poo-poo Parrish or Kinkade, but find some hidden beauty and meaning in the menstrual splashes of Jackson Pollack.

    Screw the Elite Critics. I may not know what Art is, but I know what I like.

  2. Benning said it well. The snobby attitude surrounding opera is off-putting but I just ignore it because the human voice is my favorite musical instrument. Like you, I prefer choruses and, eventhough I am not religious, I love religious music like requiems and chorales even more than opera.