I decided to publish again a short interview with Luciano Pavarotti, because many readers, especially the ones who enjoyed my recent interview with Maestro Gianandrea Noseda, will see that Pavarotti was a man of very clear ideas.
Like all Italians, he was an Italian that followed calcio (soccer or football) and politics. But in these very few lines you will find that he was a man of great common sense; and maybe that helped his great talent to become recognised and for him to become such a star.
Homage to the Maestro
I remember well when I went to visit him in 1994 in his house in Pesaro, where he was living with his second wife. He was eating with old school friends that came from his home town of Modena. They all had white hair but Luciano had instead very black hair and eyebrows. They drank happily many bottles of Lambrusco, the red wine from their region, and Luciano by then was ready for a long siesta. Nevertheless, he talked to me about his forthcoming trip to America.
I also remember Luciano from years before, in his house in Modena. He was on a diet and every few minutes he was screaming with his special voice, “Adua!!!” the name of his first wife, because he wanted another glass of water and lemon. Then I saw in the dining room an enormous amount of raw vegetables and asked him, “Why?” He answered that they had no calories and he could eat as many as he wanted!
Then I asked him what his relationship with money was and he told me that when Mirella Freni and he were still very young and poor they had asked Herbert Von Karajan, the very famous conductor, about money. Von Karajan answered, “Sing well and money will come.” That very simple sentence was for Pavarotti, and then for me, a great lesson.
Was he a very special person? Yes, he was a star and a showman and he wanted to be like that; but he had in his way of speaking something very human, almost feminine. I am sure that he still has lots of fans all over the world. This short interview is an Homage to the Maestro.
THE THRILL OF THE RACE
I meet Luciano Pavarotti in Pesaro. Soon he will be staying at the Peninsula Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles, already he is preparing and getting ready for the ultimate challenge, a concert he is going to give with Placido Domingo and José Carreras.
Do you like to sing with the other tenors?
Yes, it’s good to be competitive. And then again we are friends and we respect each other.
What do you think of the Italian soccer team?
This is the real game changer. Now the game is beautiful, now you will see who are the hard men. Now we need to win.
But will Italy succeed?
That’s what I predict.
What do you think of Baggio?
I think he is a great player.
Have you watched the matches?
At five in the morning!
And Sacchi, how does he seem to you?
Everybody criticised him at the beginning. Now he is either good or he is lucky. We criticise these people continuously, for example we have attacked Bearzot endlessly, we have criticised Vicini. Today we are fifty million technical experts, everyone has their own idea, an ideal team in mind. Despite all this the World Cup has been able to keep the team together. Do not forget that our boys are real champions, great professionals. I think we can very well do it, we are a super team.
After the concert will you go on holiday?
Yes, I will let the breezes blow me.
Will you be at the Rossini Festival?
I will still be out and about then. I will resume work on September 13 when I am going to sing in a concert in Modena, the actual programme is still uncertain. Then I will go to the Metropolitan and will open the season with “Pagliacci”. Domingo will also be there.
Pavarotti, what’s your opinion of Maestro Muti?
He’s a very great conductor, he has a great family and he and his wife make a beautiful couple.
And Maestro Abbado?
He’s a great conductor and a great man.
But is there competition even among conductors?
One wants there to be competition. We are talking about incredible levels of talent, technique, musical experience. People ask which one I prefer, but I will not name him.
And what is your favourite orchestra?
I am not going to say, I do not wish to offend anyone; but truly there is one orchestra that is really quite extraordinary.
Are you not going to sing in Italy?
Yes, I am doing the San Carlo in Naples on December 1st when I appear in “Un Ballo in Maschera”.
What do you think of what is happening in the world?
My ideal is that there would be no more states. I have a circle in Modena, “Europe 92” founded in 1980, but a Europe such as this has not come about in the way I would have hoped.
What do you think of the Italian government?
I see the birth of the Second Republic. I have seen Andreotti found the First Republic with De Gasperi. I remember the elections at that time and the monarchists saying that for at least ten years it would be better not to change things. These days things have changed.
For better or for worse?
In a domestic house there is a head to that house and everybody works together, but in Italy there is not only no collaboration, there is not even a real democracy. To govern takes just two, not four hundred and fifty thousand people.
And Berlusconi, what do you think of him?
I think he’s good. Now he’s been elected, okay, so let’s move on; let’s stop putting a spoke in every wheel.
Can it be said that at the end of the day you are an optimist?
I am optimistic and it upsets me that people always see the glass half empty instead of the glass half full. Unfortunately, when one is an optimist, one is very often considered a simpleton. It is true that there are many problems in life and in the world, but I believe that there are also a great many solutions.
July 16, 1994