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25 August 2022, 16:01
The beloved tenor’s daughter accepted the award, saying: “I wish I could express just how much I would love for him to be here today but alas not even the stars hold so much power.”
Known for his hair-raising, spine-tingling tone and sheer vocal power, the Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti is without doubt one of the best-known and most beloved operatic singers of all time.
And Pavarotti has finally taken his well-deserved place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as a star with his name on it was unveiled in a ceremony on LA’s Hollywood Boulevard on Wednesday 24 August.
Read more: Take a listen to the incredible fresh voice of a 28-year-old Luciano Pavarotti
Accepting the honour in his place was Cristina Pavarotti, the singer’s daughter. In a moving speech given on the podium that was set up for the occasion, she paid tribute to her father, saying: “If I think back to all [Luciano Pavarotti] has achieved... at the trails he has blazed, at all his successes and acknowledgements, I still feel dizzy.
“It is a tremendous honour to represent my father on this occasion. I wish I could express just how much I’d love for him to be here today, but alas, not even the stars hold so much power”.
Sharing memories of Pavarotti as both world-renowned tenor and doting father, she recalled his devotion to fans as he stayed for hours after a performance had finished, signing autographs, to make sure that “no fan would have to leave empty-handed”.
With fondness, she spoke of his comforting and generous nature when auditioning nervous young singers, and shared an amusing backstage anecdote:
“One last memory of him: in his dressing room right before a recital, surrounded by throat lozenges and lots of humidifiers, his voice barely audible when nodding vigorously at the theatre director, who meant to cancel the performance due to his indisposition. He’d always say, ‘either you sing or you don’t, no excuses allowed’. Then, like the experienced tightrope-walker he was, he’d pull his best stunt and sing like an angel”.
Following her speech, Cristina Pavarotti joined the unveiling ceremony, as the star bearing her father’s name was revealed to the public for the first time. She was also joined by her daughter, Caterina, as the pair smiled for photos by the paved star.
Read more: The heart-warming reason Princess Diana once sat in the pouring rain to hear Pavarotti live
Pavarotti star: a monument was unveiled today on Hollywood's Walk of Fame bearing the name of Luciano Pavarotti, in a ceremony attended by his daughter Cristina Pavarotti and granddaughter Caterina. pic.twitter.com/fxXlWiwyv5— Opera magazine (@operamagazine) August 24, 2022
The ceremony also included a tribute from conductor, and LA Opera music director, James Conlon, who worked with the great tenor throughout his career: “Luciano Pavarotti [was] not only one of the greatest singers of his era but of the entire 20th century, and one of the most outstanding public personalities in recent history”.
Conlon continued: “To those who love and perform classical music, we recognised him for what he represented. In addition to an exceptional, unique, god-given voice, his vocalism was an embodiment of the old school of bel canto, and the technique that served as the fundament of the operatic art.”
And his talent was infectious. According to the conductor, other performers singing alongside Pavarotti would “suddenly and inexplicably sound better”, as if by ‘osmosis’.
Conlon recounted his own relationship with Pavarotti, from the Met Opera’s second ever televised show in 1978 through to visiting the tenor at his Modena home in 2007, as well as reminiscing on some of the tenor’s more public memorable moments.
Read more: When Pavarotti sang his final ‘Nessun dorma’ to close Italy’s Olympics Opening Ceremony
Luciano Pavarotti was a formidable talent and personality, with a well-deserved, dedicated following. From leading a parade down New York’s 5th Avenue on horseback in 1980, to appearances on primetime television shows and advertisements, he brought opera to the masses in ways that had never been seen before – or indeed since.
Perhaps most notably, it was the 1990 football World Cup in Italy that entrenched Pavarotti in pop culture forever, and linked him eternally with Puccini’s aria, ‘Nessun Dorma’ from the opera Turandot.
The use of his recording for the televised broadcast launched both Pavarotti and the aria into such stratospheric levels of publicity that they remain the best-known elements of opera, to this day.