The Legend at 70

WFMT Special Features

Pavarotti - The Legend at 70

WFMT's Pavarotti Homage:
Making History With A Legend

By Jonathan Tolansky

From the moment that Luciano Pavarotti and I began to record our in-depth interview about his life and career for the WFMT Radio Network's 70th birthday tribute, I knew we were making history with an exceptional document. This was one of the most intimate, revealing and inspirational conversations I have ever had the privilege of recording in my long career as a producer. Both he and I were very moved at the end. We have captured his life and career in a remarkably vivid and enlightening way, with some wonderfully informative observations from him on his roles and some unique personal memories of his experiences.

The atmosphere is just like a personal 'at home,' as indeed it was, as we were together in the great tenor's lovely summer home in Pesaro, on the Italian Adriatic coast. Maestro Pavarotti was sometimes touchingly anecdotal, sometimes profoundly serious and discerning, and sometimes highly amusing. Most importantly, I feel, there were many elements in this unique conversation that will enlighten people in a very special way — I learned new things about Luciano Pavarotti and heard wonderful new words of wisdom, sensitivity and insight about music and singing from him.

Our historic feature is further enhanced by a selection of distinguished performers and others who assess Luciano Pavarotti's qualities and appeal and recall their professional and personal experiences with him. Amongst them are opera singers Renee Fleming and Marilyn Horne, conductors Sir Edward Downes and Robin Stapleton, opera intendant John Mordler, recording producer Christopher Raeburn, and President of Decca Records Costa Pilavachi. At this historic time in Luciano Pavarotti's life, they help to remind us that the man and artist who has raised millions and millions of dollars for wounded and starving children by singing for popular charity concerts is one of the most profoundly serious and inspirational perfectionists in operatic history.