Pavarotti: Technician and Magician

Joseph Talia

Much has been written about Luciano Pavarotti, but today’s singers and fans still strive to understand how a fearful young boy who grew up in war-torn Modena became one of the most accomplished singers ever. What social, educational and cultural influences fueled his ambition, nurtured his soul and led him to risk everything for his dream of becoming a great tenor?

At age 25, having already studied for 6 years, his voice was still cracking under pressure in competitions, and he had yet to make a penny from singing. At age 58, he had conquered the citadels of opera and was singing to over 500,000 people in New York’s Central Park.

It takes a special voice to make it in opera, but you also need training, determination, intelligence, practice, and endurance. Success is judged by such criteria as breathing technique, resonance balancing, register blending, and vocal quality. Across varying musical and dramatic performances, it calls for different voice types, temperament, psychology, and operatic styles. Pavarotti’s life of learning and practice in the art of the voice was particularly intense, leading directly to his success.

Much can be learned from Pavarotti’s journey by the singers of today as they strive to develop their careers. Indeed, for the accomplished Melbourne-based voice teacher Joseph Talia, a study of Pavarotti is a joyous educational and promotional tool for the art of singing and the melodrama that is opera.

Talia himself has sung, directed and conducted opera across Australia and Europe and brings his talent, passion and skill to the first detailed analysis of the artistic and technical development of Luciano Pavarotti. In this intricate telling of Pavarotti’s life, including personal interviews with his widow and close colleagues, Talia examines Pavarotti’s personal and professional life, his adherence to the Italian School of voice training, informed by contemporary scientific knowledge, anatomy and physiology of singing, allowing us to judge his singing performance objectively.

This is a book about Pavarotti like no other — a work of immense depth and detail that shines a light on the man, his legacy, and the challenges and rewards involved in a life of singing.