Watching Caro Mio Ben sung by the man, the voice, the legend Luciano Pavarotti in the new mesmerizing Ron Howard doc, instantly transported me to the first time I would sing the very same song in St. Louis as a young aspiring vocalist dreaming of one day performing at the Metropolitan Opera. Luciano Pavarotti changed the landscape of the opera world when he burst onto the scene in a 1961 version of La Boheme winning the competition as a humble elementary school teacher. He became the equivalent of a rock star after the mind-blowing success of Three Tenors with his colleagues Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras catapulting all three into superstar status.
The “King of the High ‘C’s” deemed opera as a love, hate, death relationship with a little makeup that can transform any performer into a variety of characters that have inhabited the opera world for decades. Not only did he tour the globe, but loved bringing the culture of opera to lesser known cities and countries like Liberty, Missouri, Yazoo City, Mississippi and even the Amazon jungle.
We are given a front row seat to our own personal concert thanks to the brilliantly crafted direction of Ron Howard. Howard masterfully weaves his Pavarotti’s signature song ‘Nessun Dorma’ as a staple character illustrating chapters from his operatic career, life, collaborations, family, children, women and relationships with such dignitaries as Princess Diana. Some of my favorite scenes involved him preparing a spaghetti dish for talk show host Phil Donahue, pulling a “Godfather’ move to persuade a young Bono into writing a song and sharing that even a man as supremely gifted as Pavarotti suffered from a little stage fright saying , “…I go to die” even down to carrying a bent iron nail for luck.
Howard, who is known for such iconic films as ‘Apollo 13,’ “A Beautiful Mind,’ and even a Star Wars joint ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story,’ sat down with me to discuss it all. Be on the lookout for that interview to drop momentarily on You Tube. In the meantime, whether you love opera or not, you’ll be throughly entertained at this bird’s eye view into the life of one of our global treasures. Produced by Imagine Entertainment and CBS Films, Pavarotti will sing its way into your heart on June 7th.