Vittorio Grigolo just wrote Opera Chic to address his recent interview with Rupert Christiansen in The Daily Telegraph, posted yesterday on Opera Chic. In the interview, it was mentioned by Christiansen that:
When Grigolo was a boy soprano in the Sistine Chapel choir he was assigned to sing the Shepherd in Tosca, alongside Pavarotti as Cavaradossi. After the performance, Pavarotti admiringly signed Grigolo’s autograph book “A Vittorio Primo” = 'to Vittorio the First’. Grigolo has always interpreted this as Pavarotti’s prophecy that Grigolo was destined to be the next tenor champ
Vittorio has this to say about the anecdote:
Cari Operachic e amici,
I want to apologise for my words in The Telegraph article. I don’t mean to have anyone’s throne. The way the words are put together doesn’t sound like me. Sometimes the feelings and thoughts I have inside are not easy to translate into words. Even though my English is good and fluent it can be misunderstood.
The story of my first meeting with Luciano was a true, very special moment for a young boy! It is an incredible memory that makes me always work harder but of course when you repeat this story millions of time it sounds like normal to me and loses the "magic" of the first moment. And I am always asked about this moment.
Today I compete only with myself and it is a real hard competition believe me, I never like myself. I am 33 years old which is still a young age for the tenor voice. I hope always to give my best and to extend or refocus my repertoire as my voice matures. Performing at La Scala was and is an incredible and challenging experience! I enjoyed always these moments in Milan and I look forward to singing Romeo there next year. I mean only to say that it is difficult for all the Italian theatres now when you compare them to the ROH because in Italy they have such an economic crisis and less and less budgets to make still opera alive and of great quality. I hope for the future it will be easier for Opera houses in Italy.
Today is a new day and I am happy to be here in London and singing such a great role conducted by M.Pappano and a great partner like Anna .I wish you all a great day and many beautiful moments in our incredible world of music!
Of course, everybody loves Big Luciano's legacy, but with the exception of misguided fetishists of old recordings and of a bright past that may or may not have existed (just check out the impressively boring stagings that plagued many wonderful performances from the 1950s and 1960s that we still have on DVD...) nobody really needs "heirs" to the great singers of the past -- we're blessed to have young singers who walk-tha-walk such as Grigolo, and many others.
The past is a beautiful legacy, recordings are wonderful documents, but opera is about the unamplified voice, here and now, alive and present in the opera house -- it's pure emotion, when it's done right. Let the giants of the past rest, with our gratitude, but let us appreciate the talent and the passion that now breathes and lives and sings onstage.
And thanks to Vittorio Grigolo for having the class to make his words clearer and apologize to those who might have disliked any comparisons with Pavarotti.