Film Review – Pavarotti
If ever a film was made for my Mum, it’s this one. Ron Howard follows up his toe-tapping doco The Beatles: Eight Days A Week with an in-depth look at the life of Pavarotti, The Maestro, The King of the High C’s, and one of the great Italian Operatic Tenors who singlehandedly turned Opera into Popera by taking it to America throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s.
We open with some rare footage of Pavarotti in the Amazon, with the big man’s flute player documenting a trip into the jungle following a gig to 200,000 fans the night before in Buenos Aires.
Following in the footsteps of Enrico Caruso who had played the Amazon Theatre in 1897, Pavarotti makes his way onto the stage and performs a song for a handful of onlookers.
At that moment if his voice doesn’t move you then you might not get much out of this stunning documentary film laced with live performances from throughout his lengthy career.
Howard’s film explores Pavarotti’s upbringing and explores the idea that his gift was both a purpose, and a burden. Australia’s Joan Sutherland features in several performances with Pavarotti, before he hooks up with an innovative manager who takes the tenor out of the opera houses he is accustomed to where he performed in character, to recitals and concerts across America where he had to inhabit a personality as big as his voice. It is in these new, unfamiliar environments where he gives birth to the famous flourishing of his big white handkerchief.
There are so many pearls of wisdom from Pavarotti as he speaks about life and his take on operatic performances including “Everything effects the voice” (emotionally) and “The voice is a lady” who must be treated well…)
The Pav not only loved life, he loved living, and he loved to eat and share meals with people, at one point he gets on the phone to his flute player and tells him that before he jumps on a plane from Italy to join Pavarotti on tour in America, he must pack a suitcase with 2kg tortellini, 5kg Parmesan cheese and 2 prosciutto.
We learn he hated being alone and was a vulnerable character, despite his larger than life appearance, and he was open about that fact and audiences connected with that.
He could be mischievous and demanding, but was generous with his time, mentoring many aspiring singers, including at one gorgeous point in the film a Chinese man, and then the women, whom he loved to be spoilt by.
If you love of incredible biographical stories about people with huge hearts who live to make the most out of every second they are alive, it’s hard to beat Pavarotti.
And that’s without even getting into The Three Tenors, Lady Di, Bono or his phenomenal charity work for kids around the world.
4 Stars “Triumphant Tale of The Tenor”.