This DVD is superb. If you ever wondered about Luciano Pavarotti and loved his melodious tenor voice and the beautiful aria Nessun Dorma; you will find that Pavarotti is very much alive in this production and what a production it is.
I was literally spell bound. Michael Parkinson had interviewed this legend, Ian McKellen was the narrator and Francis Hanley and Adam Sweeting spent twelve months making this film and discovering amazing details about their subject's life and his roots in Modena, Italy which were very strong even till the end. The year that this production was made was the year Pavarotti's youngest daughter was christened, when he married his personal assistant Nicoletta Mantovani and he gave his farewell performance in New York City at the Met.
This was a BBC Arena film and it aptly captured a truly amazing portrait of a brilliant virtuoso at age 70. Sweeting and Hanly stated, "We wanted to explore the texture of Pavarotti's life as he contemplated the final phase of his career. We sat in his living room while he watched his favourite football team, Juventus, on TV, and tried to understand the rules of his favourite card game, Briscola. He talked about how much he owes his father, an enthusiastic amateur tenor, and discussed other great tenors of history. Even ten years wouldn't have been enough to find out everything about Pavarotti, but we got most of the answers we wanted."
Indeed they did. I have never seen such a wonderful intimate view of the man. They traced his life from its humble beginnings and that of his family; their roots, where he lived and we even saw a very touching duet performed by both father and son in Italy. I actually thought that his father was quite good and if the circumstances might have been different; he might have been a star himself though Pavarotti stated that his father was afraid of the stage. It did not appear that way in their duet.
There were performances of three of his most famous arias: Nessun Dorma (Turandot) on June 26, 1993 in Central Park, Addio alla madre (Cavalleria Rusticana) performed on June 9, 1993, Il Lamento di Frederico performed on April 29, 1991 as well as Ti Adoro and Il Canto from two music videos. Many performances were showcased throughout his career and these excerpts were well integrated throughout the DVD. Additionally, there were filmed personal interviews with Pavarotti on other singers including his idol Di Stephano; extra footage and interviews with Roberto Alagna as well as Bono.
There were many wonderful photos of the tenor as well as wonderful footage of Emilia Romagna and the Adriatic Coast. Po Valley, the Appenine Mountains. Pesaro, Modena, and of Pavarotti's birth location.
There is no way that anyone will be sleeping through this wonderful production. BBC really did a wonderful job and I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoyed and listened to Pavarotti at any time in their life. It will be as if he were standing right there in your living room performing for just you.
From Turandot (Calaf):
No one shall sleep!
No one shall sleep!
You too, o Princess,
in your cold room
are watching the stars which
tremble with love and hope!
But my secret lies hidden within me,
no one will know my name!
No, no, I will reveal it
only on your lips,
when daylight breaks forth
and my kiss will break the silence
which makes you mine!