The most recent in a glut of “famous musician” biopics, “Pavarotti” is the story of Luciano Pavarotti, arguably the most recognisable of the “Three Tenors” and arguably the greatest singer of the twentieth century. A man blessed with a truly supernatural voice. I say blessed because the man in question appears to have been the rarest breed of towering artistic talents. His great voice made everybody happy – his audiences and just as importantly, him.

Make no mistake, this is no “tortured artistic genius” biopic. Pavarotti made no bones about trying to make everyone around him happy. And by and large he seems to have succeeded. In fact through the entire film, I don’t think he ever stopped smiling – except once, while singing “Pagliacci” – which he did so well that in a phrase of notes less than ten seconds long I was moved to cry and feel a great ebullient joy at his talent – both emotions at the same time.

To greater or lesser extent, “music star films” are usually rather sad films. Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody” was an undeniably tortured genius who by some quirk of fate, had the knack of using his talent to mutate his personal pain into mass joy. Maria Callas was far from being a happy person. Please don’t ask me for my opinion of Elton John or the film “Rocketman” instead if you want a great experience at the movies, see “Pavarotti”.

Its been a very long time since I’ve seen a film about such a major talent, and since before Pavarotti, there was only Caruso some eighty years earlier, we may have to wait some time and I can only say that whoever they are, I hope the vicissitudes of genetics and life allow them as much happiness as Pavarotti. Highly recommended.

(C) Alex Rieneck, 2019

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