As I type this, I am doing something I have very rarely done; I am listening to the sounds of the now late Luciano Pavarotti, who died this morning in Italy.
I do not follow Opera, by and large. I have never attended one, and will in all likelihood never be in one. However, one need not be an aficionado of opera to understand the gift that was Pavarotti to the world of music. Indeed, he did not only sing opera.
Generally, I would only listen to the now silenced golden voice of the "King of Tenors" at Christmas time...as my mother has a Christmas album of Pavarotti. I am no more an expert on Pavarotti than I am on opera itself. Yet the news of his death today inspired me to pick up one of his CD's at the library, and as I listen, what I knew intellectually before now is confirmed in fact; the world has lost one of its best voices.
Oddly enough, for someone who did not listen to alot of his music, what I did hear over the years inspired me to often watch interviews with the man. Anytime I saw him speak, it seemed as though he must have been a gentle sort, all and all. Jolly, etc. But most importantly, it was always very clear what he felt he was on this earth to do...sing opera. (or operatic type music, much of the time.) The nature of musical performance, I feel, was evident in the man wherever he went.
I say this not to be hokey, as again, I do not know much about him outside of what I learned in the interviews with him I would watch. I certainly never met him. But sometimes a performer, such as myself, just...knows when someone breathes performing...when it springs forth from the soul of someone like sunlight. I feel Pavarotti was one of those people.
Indeed, that is why I take this time to remember him here in my acting blog. Music and acting are very close cousins. Opera and acting even closer. And though my expertise is generally as an actor, and a local one at that, it seemed only appropriate that anyone who gains anything from being on stage in front of an audience, ought to take a moment to acknowledge the passing of someone like Pavarotti. For opera stars and other performers, like all types of people die each day...it is not often that one of the great ones..one of the apexes of the craft comes along...and from what I gather Pavarotti was one of those.
Another now dead but not forgotten performer, closer to my genus of stage, was, as many of you who read this blog know, Sir Laurence Olivier. He often advised actors, in his books, and in person, that the best thing we can all do is take in as many varying mediums of human expression. Art, museums, concerts, and I would assume, of course, opera. Seeing all these things, Olivier thought, only served to enhance the actor's ability to shine that light from within onto those who watch the performance. By seeing the craft of other artists in other mediums who are really in the end trying to communicate the same sort of messages about humanity, the actor picks up things he would not otherwise pick up, if he remained cloistered within his own craft.
As usual, Oliver made a great point with that. Perhaps I, as an actor, should make greater efforts from now on, to see operas...or at least vocal performances of the highest caliber. So that I do not have to wait until the next great artist, in any medium dies, before I opt to appreciate them.