CULTURE

A farewell to opera but not to music

“The purpose of my farewell concerts is to say goodbye to opera, but not to music. Besides, wisdom is not only knowing where and why you appear on stage, but also when it’s time to step down,» said Luciano Pavarotti recently. Those of you who have already purchased the magic tickets for the celebrated tenor’s sole, unique concert at the Herod Atticus Theater next week (Tuesday, June 1), consider yourselves lucky – the performance is already sold out, as was the case with the singer’s last appearance at the Roman theater which took place in 1991. The right cause In the Greek capital, Pavarotti fever is already on the rise. Earlier this week, the event’s organizers, together with a long list of sponsors, gathered at a press conference to discuss the evening’s goals. The upcoming concert is organized by Elpida, the Association of Friends of Children Suffering from Cancer, and the evening’s proceeds will go toward the construction of the first oncological hospital for children in Greece. «We are particularly happy to welcome Luciano Pavarotti, the legend of opera. He is a leading artist, who through his talent, sensibility and personality has made history in the world of music; he has also marked a golden page in the history of humanism with his Herod Atticus concert,» said Elpida President and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Marianna V. Vardinoyiannis at the press conference. «The construction of the first oncological hospital for children will soon be completed, justifying all of our efforts.» His career In the case of Pavarotti, no introductions are necessary. Here are a few landmark moments in his career: He won the prestigious Achille Peri award in the singing competition of the same name in 1961, yet the first reviews following his debut concert at New York’s Metropolitan Opera were highly negative. This was due to a bad case of the flu, which led to the cancellation of the tenor’s second scheduled performance at the renowned theater. «I’m finished, my life is over,» the tenor confessed to Randolph Bing, the Metropolitan Opera’s general manager at the time. Looking ahead, Bing replied that Pavarotti would return the following year and do really well. In 1972, the young tenor was hailed as a unique figure in the world of opera. Five years later, Pavarotti became a household name following his performance in Puccini’s «La Boheme,» a Metropolitan Opera production that was broadcast on television. Since then, the tenor has never ceased to make headline news. He has made countless appearances on television and radio, while in 1990, he decided to sing at the World Cup soccer tournament in Italy together with fellow accomplished tenors Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras. The exciting singing trio, known as the Three Tenors, are credited with bringing opera to the broad public. Pavarotti is also known for his collaborations with pop stars such as Sting and Bono, through the annual performances «Pavarotti and Friends» in Modena, Italy.