Pavarotti, probably the best tenor of the 20th century and a special and controversial person returns to the fore today with the recently released film by one of Hollywood’s most important directors, Ron Howard. A documentary with a special format that enters into all sides of the singer’s life.
“How would you like to be remembered as an artist?” “And as a man?” With these two questions, asked by his young and last wife Nicoletta, he starts a very special and atypical film. Starting from early notes of his childhood and family environment (his father, also a tenor, instilled in him a passion forbel-canto), a friendly and emotional portrait takes place, where the human side of Pavarotti prevails, staged in numerous passages of his life professional, but also everyday and family, all through the eyes of those who accompanied him on his way: his first wife, his daughters, his representatives, and his fellow professionals and friends.
With an apt almost cinematic structure and dynamic montage, Ron Howard brings us closer to the Pavarotti universe where an innate talent with a spontaneous personality and a contagious smile clearly merged. Not for nothing, the documentary shows a good exhibition, through numerous audiovisual material, of the italian’s growth professional exponential, which led him to make the leap from the most prestigious opera houses to the great stadiums and sports venues. It is here that the first question we have begun with is resolved: Pavarotti wanted to be remembered for making the opera known to the big masses.
The film, which inevitably appeals to the emotion and charisma of this great artist, offers us images of his enormous professional talent, which was indissoluble from the closeness and humility with which he permeated each of his public appearances and personal actions. With a chronological development, which does not penalize the amusing of his viewing, Howard runs through each of Pavarotti’s professional stages, which happen “in growing” increasing his popularity. There is no shortage of his recitals of the three tenors, with Carreras and Plácido Domingo, his operatic fusions with pop and rock musicians such as Sting, U2 or Brian May, which gave him criticism from the most purist press but which made the world surrender to him.
It was in his last years, coinciding with the beginning of his friendship with Lady Di, that he turned to his philanthropic work, given his sensitivity to the suffering of the most disadvantaged.
The last notes of this splendid cinematic work, focus on the love relationship that began with the young Nicoletta, 34 years younger than him, and for which he again received critics from the more traditional sectors of an Italian society in which he prevailed a conservative conception of family unity. It is precisely his young wife who interviews him in a domestic video and asks him the two questions for which we still have to answer the concerning of the human part. Pavarotti, as a man, wanted to be remembered as a good husband, good father and good friend. Although many remember him as a loving, humble, and friendly man, the reality is that Pavarotti wanted to look like a perfect family nucleus but that was the way he would have liked.
Howard’s portrait may be too friendly for those who expect a deeper biopsy of a personality that is not lights and shadowsdisplayed. However, his vision spreads us and makes accomplices the optimism and passion to live from the tenor, excites us in every professional performance and makes us love and feel closer to the opera, this purpose which, as we mentioned, was what the male voice craved the most virtuous lyrical.