THE TENOR'S SON by Candido Bonvicini


My Days with Pavarotti
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 You know Luciano, eh? Supremely gifted and universe-famous but modest, earthy, unpretentious: still has his telephone number listed in the Modena phone book. Well, if you know all those things, you don't need this book, and if you don't, or don't care to, or won't believe that such an angelic figure exists, you probably won't want to. This is a thin (in every sense of the word) portrait of the great tenor--part personal memoir but often irritatingly reliant on the words of others, including Pavarotti's own from his ghostwritten 1981 autobiography. The author is an Italian journalist and media man who has known Pavarotti and his wife since childhood, but proportionately one wonders if there's very much here that a review of the supernova's press clippings and interviews couldn't tell you--about the singer's idyllic childhood; his singer father who was prevented from being a star himself because of ``nerves''; his near-fatal plane trip; his monstrous eating (just about the only aspect of the great uomo that procures even a passingly negative reaction from the adoring author); his phenomenal popularity and how he deals with it (he's still surprised by it but he welcomes it). There are periodic discussions of artistic or vocal matters but it's hard to imagine that any reader sufficiently and seriously engaged with opera will get much nourishment from them. One positive note, perhaps, is Bonvicini's exploration of the reserved attitude that the Modenese still hold toward their celebrity son. Stick with the recordings, particularly the early ones, before the voice became pushed and the handkerchief started waving. (Sixteen pages of photographs)

Pub Date: Nov. 26th, 1993
ISBN: 0-312-09920-7
Page count: 208pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1993