The excruciating moment La Scala booed the great Luciano Pavarotti for cracking a Verdi high note

24 May 2021, 18:23 | Updated: 25 May 2021, 12:11

When Pavarotti was booed at La Scala
When Pavarotti was booed at La Scala. Picture: YouTube

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

Even the greatest tenors have an off-day, and Pavarotti wasn’t easily forgiven for this one – at least, not by La Scala’s opera devotees.

In 1992, the great Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti was opening the opera season at La Scala, Milan, with a production of Verdi’s Don Carlos.

On the particular night, the President of Italy was in attendance.

The production went swimmingly until the second act, when the tenor’s voice cracked on a high B, and the upper balconies (otherwise known as the ‘loggionisti’) booed him when he took his bow.

Later, Pavarotti spoke about the incident in an interview (watch below). “How bad is the pressure?,” the interviewer asked him.

“Truthfully? I think it’s an enjoyment, I don’t think it’s a job,” Pavarotti replied. “It’s not a profession. I’m telling the truth – otherwise, I wouldn’t still do it now at my age.”

Read more: Someone has unearthed actual footage of Luciano Pavarotti singing in the shower

“But if you do something wrong, the [fans] can protest – they can boo you,” the tenor added.

Of the loggionisti at La Scala – who are known for catcalling – Pavarotti said: “They live to go the opera every night, and they give all their love to the opera.

“They think they are the ultimate judge of what is going to happen there, and they think they have the right to applaud or to boo.

“And if you want to know my opinion, they are right.”

They say you are your own worst critic. And it seems Pavarotti was no exception.

Here’s remembering the absolutely glorious time he had a sing-song in the shower...