To read Opera Chic's tribute to Luciano Pavarotti scroll down or click here
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Among the many great advantages that come from the suffering -- and financial expense -- of having studied Italian for more than a year Opera Chic can count one very important thing: she is now able to figure out a singers' diction in Italian opera singing. And, frankly, the more OC learned Italian, the more she realized what every native speaker who loves opera realized long ago: that most singers' Italian diction is quite horrible. Even if the singers are, funnily enough, Italian.
Because obviously music trumps everything, and if you're a singer you're always so tempted -- even if you know better -- to shave a little "t" here, speed down a "r" there, to keep that darn linea di canto going smoothly.
The result, of course, is that you lose the meaning of the text. It just doesn't come across anymore (even recitativi, out of lack of study or out of laziness, are often unfathomable).
This is one of the reasons why Pavarotti is so magic: because the more you learn Italian the more you realize that he's, basically, singing with perfect, natural diction and pronounciation. He's not even reading -- he's acting with his voice as if this weren't teatro musicale, but a simple play.
Only, he's doing it while singing. At that monster volume of his.
This makes Pavarotti's singing, I always explain to my fellow non-Italians, even more astounding: because he sings as if the words are just there, naturally, and you don't lose one consonant, and the meaning is all there, even if you don't know the libretto, and even if you don't have any idea of the story you're watching develop itself on stage.
Because, you know, opera was meant for the stage and people had to, like, figure out what happened because it was all new stuff, repertorio didn't really exist.
Pavarotti -- often slammed as an intellectual lightweight, I mean, a baker's son who once taught elementary school and chose to dress loudly to the very end, that so doesn't fly with the academics -- remembers us that most important fact: this is musical theatre we're talking about, it's life, and love, and death, and text -- its meaning -- is as important as the notes you're hearing.
Another lesson from the maestro.