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Arrivederci, Giorgio

Si_giorgioToday the world mourns the death of Luciano Pavarotti, the Italian tenor whose talent brought him fame beyond the opera stages of the world. (You can read an excellent obituary in the Boston Globe.

A singer whose prodigious gifts won him fans in many arenas—he appeared along pop stars in numerous benefit concerts, and was even seen on Saturday Night Live, doing a duet with Vanessa Williams—he was only unable to conquer one arena: the movies.

Pavarotti’s single film appearance (aside from a few dozen filmed operas) was in 1981’s Yes, Giorgio, a film tailored as a vehicle for his outsized personality. He stars more or less as himself, an opera star whose vocal problems while on an American tour bring him to the care of voice doctor Kathryn Harrold. Mercilessly panned by critics at the time, it retains a reputation as one of the classic stinkers of the 1980s. But while it does occasionally seem overly silly, it’s not as bad as legend has it. It’s simply trifling in the face of the larger-than-life roles one associates with opera.

It has never been released to DVD, and used copies of the videocassette command collector’s prices. Some would call it an affront to the star’s memory to re-release it to DVD. But Pavarotti left such a rich body of work on audio and video recordings that this likeable trifle would hardly damage his enduring reputation.

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