Classical Music with William Price King – Luciano Pavarotti – Part Four – 1980s

classical musicLast week William Price King took us through the career and performances of Luciano Pavarotti in the 1970s and this week we cover his increasing popularity in the media, his friendship with Princess Diana and his work for charity.  I will now hand you over to William.

51sjpewzxl-_sx329_bo1204203200_To begin the article today, here is a 1980 recording of Pavarotti, who was a master at spreading the joys of fine music to the masses sings “Pourquoi me reveiller, au souffle du printemps? (Why do you wake me now,ohsweetest breath of spring?)” from the opera “Werther” (Act 3) with *lyrical warmth and delicacy. You’ll find in his performance the familiar suppleness and expressiveness that have been the foundations of Pavarotti’s fame. This incredibly beautiful music was composed by one of my favorite French classical composers, Jules Massenet.

Note: lyrical – lighter voices are often associated with the term “lyric” and are usually brighter and more agile; heavier voices are often associated with the term “dramatic” and are usually powerful, rich, and darker.

At the beginning of the 1980s, Luciano set up The Pavarotti International Voice Competition for young singers. The Academy of Music, home of the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Opera Company of Philadelphia was the venue for the finals for the first competition in 1981 with over 80 finalists selected from 27 countries.

The second competition, in 1986, staged excerpts of La bohème and Un ballo in maschera. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of his career, he brought the winners of the competition to Italy for gala performances of La bohème in Modena and Genoa, and then to China where they staged performances of La bohème in Beijing. To conclude the visit, Pavarotti performed the inaugural concert in the Great Hall of the People before 10,000 people, receiving a standing ovation for nine effortless high Cs.

In 1982, Pavarotti was persuaded to appear in the film Yes, Giorgio which unfortunately received negative feedback from the critics, but it did reinforce Luciano’s popularity with his fans. Here is an excerpt from the film which shows a very different side to Luciano.

He was deemed to be more successful in Jean-Pierre Ponnelle’s adaptation of Rigoletto for television, released that same year.  Over 20 of his live opera performances were also televised and most are still available on DVD and are well worth collecting as a record of his amazing career. He was able to reach millions every time one of his performances was televised and this strengthened his status as one of opera’s leading figures.

He returned to the Vienna State Opera and La Scala in the mid 1980s and to the role of Rodolfo in  La bohème with Carlos Kleiber conducting and his long term friend and soprano Mirella Freni as Mimi.  In 1985, Pavarotti sang Radames at La Scala opposite Maria Chiara in a Luca Ronconi production conducted by Maazel, recorded on video.

His performance of the aria “Celeste Aida” received a two-minute ovation on the opening night. He was reunited with Mirella Freni for the San Francisco Opera production of La bohème in 1988, also recorded on video.

Pavarotti also reached those who might not be opera fans but still appreciated the beauty of his voice. He recorded contemporary songs with composer and conductor Henry Mancini and became the world’s third highest top-selling musician behind Madonna and Elton John.

Here is Moon River with the Henry Mancini Orcherstra and American soprano Nancy Gustafson.

Luciano also turned his talent to support charities and he performed at benefit concerts to raise money for victims of natural disasters. He was a friend of Princess Diana and he supported her cause to eliminate landmines worldwide. Likewise Princess Diana would attend his own benefit concerts, raising their profile, such as the benefit to raise money for Bosnian children in light of the civil war during the mid 1990′ staged in Modena in September, 1995. Pavarotti was asked to sing at Princess Diana’ funeral but declined as he felt he would be unable to perform ‘with grief in his throat’, but he did attend the service.

With Pavarotti’s popularity and his move into solo tours and performances, it was considered by many in the opera world that he was not focusing on broadening his classical repertory for recitals or new operatic roles. But here is a performance recorded in 1990 that should have reassured his critics

In the role of Cavaradossi, Pavarotti is unbelievably moving, *appropriately dark and fully convincing in the aria “E lucevan le stelle (And the stars shone)” which he sings with aplomb. He, once again, showed himself to be a persuasive Puccini hero. His voice is strong and pure, and his performance exhibits the characteristic strength, warmth, and passion of his singing.

Note:  appropriately dark – suggests the color of the voice.

Additional material :

Buy the music of Luciano Pavarotti:

  Next time we will follow Pavarotti’s career in the 1990s and into the new millennium.

About William Price King

williampricekingWilliam Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.

His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.

William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.
Connect to William

Links to website –
Facebook –
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue –

You will find the other posts of the series in this directory.

Thank you for dropping by and we would be thrilled to receive your feedback and if you would share.. Sally

17 thoughts on “Classical Music with William Price King – Luciano Pavarotti – Part Four – 1980s

  1. Pingback: Classical Music with William Price King – Luciano Pavarotti – Part Four – 1980s | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  2. Pingback: The Afternoon Video – Parrot imitates Pavarotti! | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  3. Thanks for explaining the different tones – lyrical and dramatic. I would have thought Pavarotti was dramatic. 🙂 And Moon River, well, one of my favourite songs from one of my most favourite movies and favourite actress Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. A beautiful stroll down memory lane, thanks William and Sal. xoxo 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up.. Living History, Halloween and Horse Tattoos | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

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