“One of a kind”

Genius gives back of itself” August 16,2006

It is with great appreciation that I look back on my professional experiences at The Opera Company of Philadelphia in the 1980’s and into the early 1990’s.  We were hosts to so many wonderful artists (singers, directors, conductors, and designers) and the experience of working side by side with all of them at such a young age shaped my entire future in the world of opera.  But the one artist who stands out among them all is Luciano Pavarotti.
It is not only because of the many performances which he sang in Philadelphia.  We were fortunate enough to be connected with Luciano through the Pavarotti International Voice Competition for more than a decade.  Not enough people really know what was accomplished during those times.  Take a look at the lists of  past winners (there were five competitions) and then assess just how successful his Competition really was.  Every time I do it, I am impressed with the results.  Luciano has an incredibly gifted ear – he identified so many fantastic singers at such a young age, before they were groomed, before they were pushed.  He was an apolitical man and the fundamental motivation for Luciano was to give back the joy of being a winner to as many deserving singers as possible.  He never forgot his roots – his own career began by winning a competition.  He preferred to err on the side of generosity and it was inconceivable to him to limit the number of winners to a preferred few.  Nobody was excluded from auditioning for the Competition – this was important to him.  He was not afraid of making mistakes, he was more afraid that he might miss a great talent.

But the most memorable part of the Competition came for those who had the chance to sing with the master, the artist, not the judge.  Instead of  being handed a check, many of the lucky winners rehearsed and performed with Luciano.    Luciano Pavarotti performed in many operas at OCP with his young winners – some of them even toured to China with him.  He loved to get involved, spend time and really roll up his sleeves with all of them.    It was in this, his element,  where Luciano was a bright, guiding light.  When he entered the rehearsal hall, we all felt as if we were part of the most important event on earth.  He brought with him a lifetime of experience, worldwide, something that he viscerally passed along to a new generation with great gusto.    The intensity of the musical concentration and theatrical discipline during rehearsals was white hot and being a participant in this wonderful world of opera was a religion which we shared with him.  One could only dive into this environment with one hundred percent commitment and those who were able to do that were released into their futures with a great advantage.  He was a mighty example for all of us and I’m not even sure if he realizes it!  May we always honor our great teachers by keeping the flame alive.  
Danielle Orlando,
Principal Opera Coach The Curtis Institute of Music
Master Coach The Academy of Vocal Arts

~ by aprilemillo on June 25, 2007.

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