The classic Italian voice gets his legacy cemented onto the Hollywood Walk of Fame
The operatic voice of a beloved tenor wafted through the streets of Hollywood today as the ceremony for Italy’s Luciano Pavarotti began on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Pavarotti's posthumous star, awarded for the Live Performance category, is the 2,730th star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
Among the 50-or-so guests present at the event were Silvia Key, the Italian consul general in Los Angeles; Emanuele Amendola, director of the Italian Culture Insitute of Los Angeles; and Matteo Ricci, mayor of Pesaro, home of the Rossini Opera Festival. In addition, Cinzia Salvoli, an Opera producer and CEO, James Conlon, conductor of the LA Opera, and Cristina Pavarotti, one of Pavarotti’s four daughters, gave speeches.
The event was cordoned off, so visitors could only pass by the barricades, observe from the fan pit, or from across the street. Daniele Molinini, from Pescara, Italy, walked past the event, taking a video on his phone. He had accidentally stumbled upon the celebration while taking in the sights of Hollywood. It is special, he said, to see Italy represented on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. “It’s a very elegant way of showing Italy to the world,” he said.
Luciano Pavarotti was born in Modena, Italy, in 1935. He was the son of Adele Venturi, a cigar factory worker, and Fernando Pavarotti, an amateur tenor. Since the 1960s, Pavarotti has been known as one of the most successful tenors of the 20th century. Through the 1990s, Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, and Pavarotti made up the operatic singing group, Three Tenors, whose 1990 in-concert album became the best-selling classical album of all time.
Pavarotti embodied an operatic tradition of the past when Opera’s greatest stars were treated as pop stars are today. He performed in arenas and stadiums, such as Madison Square Garden and Hyde Park, and he was a beloved pop-culture celebrity and household name.
Such is proved by some of the attendees grouped in the fan pit. Among the Walk-of-Fame fans — who proudly claim that they have been coming to these events for 12 years or 23 years — were Briggie Williams and Benjamin Ainsworth.
Ainsworth has been a fan of Pavarotti since he was a child in the late 1970s. The star awarded today “solidifies and continues the legacy of Opera,” he said, “making it viable for the future.”
For Williams, this was her first attendance at a Walk of Fame event. Now a jazz and blues singer, Williams saw Pavarotti perform as a child in New York. “When I’m feeling down, Pavarotti is where I go,” she said, “because his voice screams hope to me.”
During the 30-minute ceremony, the speakers noted Pavarotti’s star qualities — and his love of food. Cinzia Salvoli, who met Pavarotti on the first day of her first-ever job, said that working with Pavarotti was one of the greatest journeys she has ever embarked on. “This star gives us the precious chance to share his memory with so many people and make his voice reverberate through time,” she said.
The second speaker, Grammy-award-winning conductor James Conlon, recalled his years of working with Pavarotti, who he called one of the greatest singers of the 20th century. He also remembered the nights after a show when he ate bowls of pasta with Pavarotti in the Concierges Apartment at the Paris Opera House.
Cristina Pavarotti, who was there accepting the award on behalf of her family, was the last to speak. Her speech was given in Italian and then translated. She shared memories of her father's dedication to his fans and family. A recording of the event is available here.
“The authenticity and warmth of Pavarotti’s art have contributed to revitalizing opera in our time and to bring its beauty to old and new generations of music lovers,” the Consul General remarked later, in an email. “For all of this, for his generosity and joy of living, for his tireless charity work, we are very proud of this posthumous recognition to our legendary tenor.”
Pavarotti's legacy is sustained by his video and audio recordings, his dedication to charitable causes, and now, his star on Hollywood Boulevard. His final performance was at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, where he performed “Nessun Dorma,” a piece he popularized from Giacomo Puccini’s opera, “Turandot.” He died on September 6, 2007, from pancreatic cancer.
As the ceremony concluded earlier today, guests and fans applauded the three speakers before unveiling a red star with the name “Luciano Pavarotti” inlaid across it in shiny, gold letters. “We now declare today Luciano Pavarotti day in Hollywood,” said Lupita Sanchez Cornejo, chair of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, and the ceremony came to a close.
Alice Gelber is a freelance journalist currently based in Los Angeles. She reports on culture, politics and health and recently completed her Master of Science in Journalism at the University of Southern California.