Melbourne's tribute to Pavarotti

"Dr Joseph Talia, the creative force behind Victoria's oldest independent opera company, is preparing a tribute to one of the greatest singers of the previous century, Luciano Pavarotti.

Talia will narrate the story of the singer's triumphs in three performances by Melbourne City Opera at the BMW Edge tomorrow, Friday and Saturday.

More than a dozen singers, including Suzanne Donald and Gary Row ley, will perform some of the many highlights from the tenors long career. The company's chorus and orchestra will be conducted by Erich Fackert.

Talia has reorganised the company's schedule in order to stage the tribute. The planned Victorian premiere of Andre Previn's contemporary classic, A Streetcar Named Desire, has been put back to next year..."

The Age 27/11/2007 p14

The great tenor's spirit shall not sleep

The Pavarotti Story His Life and Art
Melbourne City Opera, BMW Edge...
Running time 150 minutes
John Slavin Reviewer

"Luciano Pavarotti died on September 6 this year. Melbourne City Opera's artistic director, Dr Joseph Talia, and conductor Erich Fackert had the felicitous idea of performing a musical tribute to the great tenor, accompanied by some delightful stills of his theatrical triumphs, bound together by a simple narrative of his ascent to international celebrity.

The project, however, is fraught with one perilous element — Pavarotti himself. What singers dare measure their talent against the great tenor's reputation grinning down at them from the screen above?

Talia's tactic is to swamp his audience with musical milestones in Pavarotti's career.

There are 18 singers to draw on and with the Melbourne City Opera Chorus, mystifyingly under-utilised for most of the evening, produce a pleasant enough musical soiree. Some items stand out from the mainstream and it was the ensembles, some of the greatest music ever written by Donizetti, Bellini and Verdi, that fared best.

To commemorate Pav's triumph in Miami with Joan Sutherland in 1965, Lawrence Allen, Lucio Coceani, Sam Granata, Paula Coster, Helen Hill and Gary Rowley sang the great sextet from Lucia di Lammermoor.

Operatunitv Oz finalists Emily Burke and Roy Best performed the finale of La Boheme's first act, with Burke's soprano as fresh as a spring day revelling in her fine dramatic upper register.

As Pavarotti's career turned towards American-managed superstar status, it was unavoidable that we would get eight tenors singing Nessun Dorma. The hagiography grew with the Italian tenor's girth.

Pavarotti was blessed with a beautiful voice, but the high quality of his art came only with painstaking work and dedication, not often credited. It was that quality that these singers paid tribute to."

The Age 30/11/2007 p15



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