One we briefly previewed here, Pavarotti (The Film) is a tribute documentary that features rare footage, peak performances and dozens of new interviews, by Academy Award® winning filmmaker and actor Ron Howard. Lucky enough to have watched it last night at a classy gathering held at the newly revamped Ster-Kinekor Cinema Nouveau in Rosebank, this is easily one of the best documentaries we have seen and it’s no wonder why it’s been brought to the big screen.
Following on the success of recent box office record-breaking tribute feature films, Gravel Road Distribution Group, recently announced the release of Pavarotti all set for official release nationwide from 27 September 2019. When you eventually get to see it (which we encourage you to) what you can look forward to is an in depth look and experiencing the true splendor of Pavarotti’s career.
Born in 1935 near Modena in Northern Italy, Luciano Pavarotti embarked on music studies in 1954, at the age of 19. The year after, his success story started to take shape, when, alongside his father, he joined the male choir, Corale Rossini, winning first place when they competed in that year’s International Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales.
“I want to reach as many people as possible with the message of music, of wonderful opera,” said Luciano Pavarotti. His wish evident, when looking back on a career stretching over 40 years, with more than a 100 Million albums sold. To further put his career in numbers and showing off this man’s legacy, Discogs.com reports that Pavarotti released 296 albums, 46 singles and EP’s and featured on 362 compilation albums. These facts together with a look at the life, career and lasting legacy of the musical icon, dubbed “The people’s tenor,” are all appreciated in this documentary.
“For me, music making is the most joyful activity possible, the most perfect expression of any emotion,” said Pavarotti, years after he abandoned his own childhood dreams of being a football goalkeeper. Growing up in a family of little means, his father’s fine tenor voice recordings, were his first and earliest musical influences.
It is more towards the end that Pavarotti himself commented on most of his work: ““I am always a student till the last day of my profession, when perhaps I will think [I know] what I am. But now, that is not my character. My character is to take life as it is. The mutual love I have with the public is everywhere. But I am ready to accept this situation when the public will not love me. Then, I will stop.”
The beauty about this documentary is that you don’t necessarily need to be a fan of opera music in order to enjoy and be fully entrenched in it. As a result of watching in fact, you might start understanding the genre more and appreciating it for what it represents. One thing we would have liked to see more of is the darker side of Pavarotti’s story which is touched on in patches and only briefly.
As an overall package though, this documentary is very well made, beautifully shot and a great tribute to one of our generations leading voices (pun intended). Pavarotti the film will open in cinemas nationwide on 27 September 2019. Check cinema listings for details for bookings.