My father-in-law Geoff Cronin who died in February was 93 and with a memory like a bear trap… and who is also a great raconteur.. and I had a conversation one weekend about the music series on the life of Luciano Pavarotti with William Price King. I know that since his death you have been enjoying his stories and since we will not be starting his third and last book next weekend you might enjoy reading this post again.. or for the first time.
Anyway my father-in-law had a wonderful story about one of Pavarotti’s greatest fans.
Michael lived in Donegal and his mother, who was a music teacher and introduced him to opera and specifically the work of Luciano Pavarotti back in the 1980s.
This began a lifetime’s obsession with the singer and despite being short on cash, Michael bought every recording the great man released. He would also record any television appearances and cherished the DVD of the one film that Pavarotti made.. Yes Giorgio… and successive girlfriends were forced to watch copious times during predictably short-lived romances.
Eventually Michael set up his own business with a record shop and bookstore. Over the years he saved up money in a large cake tin, hidden on the top of his kitchen cabinets in his flat above the shop. His friends down at the pub on a Friday night would indulge Michael’s fantasy of one day attending the great Pavarotti’s performances; laughing behind his back when he would enthuse about the singer’s most recent album release.
Finally, after twenty years, Michael had saved enough to buy a front row ticket for a performance to be given in Modena, Italy. There was also sufficient left over to hire a tuxedo and spend a night or two in a modest hotel on the outskirts of town. He headed off to Dublin and the airport on the train. This was his first flight and excursion out of the country and he was beside himself with fear and excitement.
Eventually he arrived in Modena and was grateful that the lady who ran the small hotel spoke English.. She was very helpful in getting his suit pressed and getting a taxi to take him to the concert on time.
Three days later Michael arrived back in Donegal in a state of bliss. He couldn’t wait to get to the pub on the Friday and tell all his friends about the most amazing experience of his life.
Sure enough his friends were all ears when he began to tell them about his adventures. None of them had ever left the country nor flown in a plane and they plied him with questions about every aspect of the trip. Finally one asked about the actual concert.
Michael, relishing being the centre of attention, and with all eyes on him, talked them through the evening moment by moment. The venue, the beautiful women in their expensive gowns, the men all in black tie and the champagne in the interval. His front row seat had offered him the most wonderful view of the performance and his heart had beaten rapidly at being so close to his beautiful Pavarotti.
One of his friends asked him if the singer was as good in person as on the recordings.
‘Oh he was superb and it was so thrilling to see him live; I cannot tell you how amazing those two hours were.’
One of them piped up. ‘And what was he like as a man, you know did he interact with the audience.’
Michael shook his head and grimaced slightly. ‘Well he doesn’t like it much when you sing along with him!’
You can find the serialisation of Geoff’s books so far in this link: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/the-colour-of-life-by-geoff-cronin/