Opie does Opera in PAVAROTTI, an operatic documentary on the golden tonsiled tyro.
At the time when the young Italian teacher, Luciano Pavarotti was making a name for himself as a singer, director Ron Howard was likewise building a career in the screen world playing Opie in The Andy Griffiths Show.
Now the Oscar winner has trained his cinematic talent on the giant of the opera, creating a superb documentary that echoes the pillars of opera -passion, love, family, risk, and beauty.
Rare footage, peak performances, archival interviews and dozens of new
interviews are combined and orchestrated by Howard, structuring the entire film as a 3- act opera, a drama punctuated by passionate arias and highlighting the contrasts of larger-than-life spectacle with raw, everyday humanity.
In PAVAROTTI, we are presented with this earthy, happy-go-lucky character who relished the good things in life with vivacious humility but was also a man
battling the intricacies of massive super stardom, sky-high expectations and turbulent relationships.
The film is effectively underscored by Pavarotti’s growing sense of responsibility that he had to find a way to use his voice and power for something more satisfying and more lasting than mere fame.
However, there is no doubt the fame has lasted and will continue to last. Recordings of his work as a soloist are testimony of his greatness, as are the brilliant collaborations with Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras, not to mention his crossover work with Bono, Sting and a score of pop and rock artists.
PAVAROTTI is a shoo-in must-see for opera buffs, but such is the power and charisma of the subject and the consummate crafting of the film, this superb documentary commands a crossover audience, so that even those who poo-poo opera will fall under its special spell.
Like his brilliant documentary on The Beatles: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK, Howard has crafted a superb documentary on a musical icon that is entertaining, informative and revealing. A sheer delight.