PAVAROTTI: Ian Bostrich writes “As a young opera singer, I was snobbish about the Three Tenors – but a legendary Pavarotti performance made me realise that the key wasn’t vocal pyrotechnics, but emotional connection”

The iconic tenor of my lifetime – and in terms of sheer voice, the very best – was Luciano Pavarotti. I only heard him once in the flesh, in a production of Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera at London’s Royal Opera House. His interest in the stage action was limited, but his vocal resources were only marginally depleted after decades of shining high Cs, and I felt the magic.

What had propelled Pavarotti into the stratosphere of international celebrity was a celebratory event at the 1990 World Cup in the Baths of Caracalla in Rome: the famous Three Tenors concert in which he sang Puccini’s aria from Turandot, Nessun Dorma, with its climactic high B on the word “vincero” – “I will win”.

I was then a young singer making my way in the apparently more rarefied worlds of Lieder and Mozart opera, and I was more than a little snobbish about all this; a snobbishness that no doubt sprang from defensiveness about my vocal capacities, as well as protectiveness for the ...


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