On Saturday, I saw Pavarotti, a documentary about the life of the legendary tenor.
Some people have a presence. It’s an intangible x factor that only a select amount of individuals possess, but those who do are unforgettable—Luciano Pavarotti was one of them.
The story of the Italian opera great is told here in a linear way by director Ron Howard, who conducted over 50 interviews to arrive at the finished work. From his childhood in Italy to his profound success as perhaps the greatest tenor of all time, Pavarotti’s life is recounted in a beautiful narrative by the people who knew him best.
He was a family man, a mentor, a friend and a humanitarian. He was also a philanderer, a diva and a man plagued with self-doubt. I’m grateful Howard chose to show both sides. Sometimes when we get to know someone larger than life, it’s only their persona that’s noticed; here we get to explore the human for all of his flaws, and we’re better for it.
Aside from his technical talent, his charisma is remembered through scenes from his friendship with Princess Diana and hilarious stories told by Bono. Pavarotti seemed to love life—his women, his friends, his children, his colleagues, his fans, his food. This was reflected in the way he lived his life, to the fullest of course, and that made it all the more heartbreaking to reach the end of the film where the last months of his life, as he suffered from pancreatic cancer, are remembered.
Though not much of an opera fan, because of his undeniable popularity and yes, because of the U2 song “Miss Sarajevo,” I knew about Pavarotti before seeing the film, but never did I think I’d enjoy such an intimate look at him.
I only wish I’d seen him perform when I had the chance.