We have much to thank the Italian town of Modena for – Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, the world’s best Balsamic Vinegar and Pavorotti, quite apart from a wonderful medieval history!
Mea culpa – I love opera, well, Wagner excepted, I’ve been fortunate enough to see Pavarotti, even meet him briefly, in fact if I allow the shameless name dropping to continue, I’ve met two other people featured in this documentary – Placido Domingo and Guiseppi Di Stefano, but enough of desperate attempts at self-promotion.
I didn’t know what to expect of this film, but I love Pavorotii’s voice and Ron Howard as a director, indeed Ron Howard introduces the film, welcoming Australian audiences in a short video clip at the start of the film. It is a documentary rather than a movie, deliberately staged in an operatic style, using concert footage over the years and it works, I found it utterly riveting, poignant, funny and moving. Perhaps more importantly, so did my wife Ann, who is not an opera person.
Fear not, this is no glossy tightly controlled attempt to create the new Messiah, it’s beguilingly honest featuring sometimes searing interviews with his family, faults are not glossed over. What comes through, is a driven, very human, funny, warm bloke with a voice gifted by the Gods.
I really liked this bloke, I would have loved to have dined and wined with him long into the night. I don’t want to spoil the film by going through various scenes, all I can say, is if you love music and theatre go, just go. In fact, I would take kids, who may have absolutely zero interest in opera – U2 will keep them happy. I defy anyone to sit watching and listening to Pavorotti, Domingo and Carreras sing (and interact) Nessun Dorma without tears rolling down their cheeks.
Pavorotti is to be released in cinemas on October 24th and I’d have to give a plug for the lovely art deco Windsor Theatre in Nedlands, part of the Luna Cinemas Group and the wonderful all singing all dancing Theatre Manager – his short, but in tune rendition of O Solo Mio as he flung open the doors was in the very best of theatre tradition, all that was missing was the Wurlitzer rising from the stage.
Many thanks to The Saturday Paper for the tickets – support for independent newspapers (and cinemas), has never been more important.
Greg Ross October 2019