As JSU intuited yesterday, Luciano Pavarotti, one of the all-time operatic greats, has passed from our presence.
I am forced to confess that I was not a passionate fan in the end, being far more a partisan of the singer generally positioned as his arch-rival. Even so, when all is said and done, Luciano Pavarotti's album Mattinata provided one of my earliest and most compelling windows into the glorious potential of the voice, for which I will always be in this man's debt. In his prime, his voice was an instrument of beauty that could make any operatic unbeliever shake. His achievement of greatness from humble beginnings was without question a fable come to life. And I can't think of any other singer during my lifetime who served more readily as a symbol for opera itself -- its insurmountable grandeur and its capacity for folly, all at once.
Bernard Holland's detailed New York Times obit is here -- and, I'll note, was posted front and center on page one of the paper's Internet edition as of 1:45am EST.
Farewell, Signore Pavarotti.