By ALESSANDRA RIZZO, Associated Press Writer
8 minutes ago
ROME - Luciano Pavarotti, whose vibrant high C's and ebullient showmanship made him one of the world's most beloved tenors, died Thursday, his manager told The Associated Press. He was 71.
His manager, Terri Robson, told the AP in an e-mailed statement that Pavarotti died at his home in Modena, Italy, at 5 a.m. local time. Pavarotti had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year and underwent further treatment in August.
"The Maestro fought a long, tough battle against the pancreatic cancer which eventually took his life. In fitting with the approach that characterised his life and work, he remained positive until finally succumbing to the last stages of his illness," the statement said.
For serious fans, the unforced beauty and thrilling urgency of Pavarotti's voice made him the ideal interpreter of the Italian lyric repertory, especially in the 1960s and '70s when he first achieved stardom. For millions more, his charismatic performances of standards like "Nessun dorma" from Puccini's "Turandot" came to represent what opera is all about.
Instantly recognizable from his charcoal black beard and tuxedo-busting girth, Pavarotti radiated an intangible magic that helped him win hearts in a way Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras — his partners in the "Three Tenors" concerts — never quite could.
"I always admired the God-given glory of his voice — that unmistakable special timbre from the bottom up to the very top of the tenor range," Domingo said in a statement from Los Angeles.
"I also loved his wonderful sense of humor and on several occasions of our concerts with Jose Carreras — the so-called Three Tenors concerts — we had trouble remembering that we were giving a concert before a paying audience, because we had so much fun between ourselves," he said.
The tenor, who seemed equally at ease singing with soprano Joan Sutherland as with the Spice Girls, scoffed at accusations that he was sacrificing his art in favor of commercialism.
"The word commercial is exactly what we want," he said, after appearing in the widely publicized "Three Tenors" concerts. "We've reached 1.5 billion people with opera. If you want to use the word commercial, or something more derogatory, we don't care. Use whatever you want."
In the annals of that rare and coddled breed, the operatic tenor, it may well be said the 20th century began with Enrico Caruso and ended with Pavarotti. Other tenors — Domingo included — may have drawn more praise from critics for their artistic range and insights, but none could equal the combination of natural talent and personal charm that so endeared him to audiences.
"Pavarotti is the biggest superstar of all," the late New York Times music critic Harold Schonberg once said. "He's correspondingly more spoiled than anybody else. They think they can get away with anything. Thanks to the glory of his voice, he probably can."
In his heyday, he was known as the "King of the High C's" for the ease with which he tossed off difficult top notes. In fact it was his ability to hit nine glorious high C's in quick succession that first turned him into an international superstar singing Tonio's aria "Ah! Mes amis," in Donizetti's "La Fille du Regiment" at New York's Metropolitan Opera in 1972.
In the 1990s, Pavarotti's teaming with Domingo and Carreras became a music business phenomenon and spawned copycats such as the Three Irish Tenors.
Pavarotti starred in a film called "Yes, Giorgio" (though its failure scuttled his hopes for a Hollywood career) and appeared in a filmed version of "Rigoletto." He wrote an autobiography, "I, Luciano Pavarotti," and made more than 90 recordings.
From Beijing to Buenos Aires, people immediately recognized his incandescent smile and lumbering bulk, clutching a white handkerchief as he sang arias and Neapolitan folk songs, pop numbers and Christmas carols for hundreds of thousands in outdoor concerts.
His name seemed to show up as much in gossip columns as serious music reviews, particularly after he split with Adua Veroni, his wife of 35 years and mother of their three daughters, and then took up with his 26-year-old secretary in 1996.
In late 2003, he married Nicoletta Mantovani in a lavish, star-studded ceremony. Pavarotti said their daughter Alice, nearly a year old at the time of the wedding, was the main reason he and Mantovani finally wed after years together.
In the latter part of his career, some music critics cited what they saw as an increasing tendency toward the vulgar and the commercial.
He came under fire for canceling performances or pandering to the lowest common denominator in his choice of programs, or for the Three Tenors tours and their millions of dollars in fees.
He was criticized for lip-synching at a concert in Modena, Italy, his hometown. An artist accused him of copying her works from a how-to-draw book and selling the paintings.
The son of a baker who was an amateur singer, Pavarotti was born Oct. 12, 1935, in Modena. He had a meager upbringing, though he said it was rich with happiness.
"Our family had very little, but I couldn't imagine one could have any more," Pavarotti said.
As a boy, Pavarotti showed more interest in soccer than his studies, but he also was fond of listening to his father's recordings of tenor greats like Beniamino Gigli, Tito Schipa, Jussi Bjoerling and Giuseppe Di Stefano, his favorite.
Among his close childhood friends was Mirella Freni, who would eventually become a soprano and an opera great herself. The two studied singing together and years later ended up making records and concerts together, according to Elvio Giudici, an Italian opera critic.
In his teens, Pavarotti joined his father, also a tenor, in the church choir and local opera chorus. He was influenced by the American movie actor-singer Mario Lanza.
"In my teens I used to go to Mario Lanza movies and then come home and imitate him in the mirror," Pavarotti said.
Singing was still nothing more than a passion while Pavarotti trained to become a teacher and began working in a school.
But at 20, he traveled with his chorus to an international music competition in Wales. The Modena group won first place, and Pavarotti began to dedicate himself to singing.
With the encouragement of his then fiancee, Adua Veroni, he started lessons, selling insurance to pay for them. He studied with Arrigo Pola and later Ettore Campogalliani.
In 1961, Pavarotti won a local voice competition and with it a debut as Rodolfo in Puccini's "La Boheme."
He followed with a series of successes in small opera houses throughout Europe before his 1963 debut at Covent Garden in London, where he stood in for Di Stefano as Rodolfo.
Having impressed conductor Richard Bonynge, Pavarotti was given a role opposite Bonynge's wife, soprano Joan Sutherland, in a Miami production of "Lucia di Lamermoor." They subsequently signed him for a 14-week tour of Australia.
It was the recognition Pavarotti needed to launch his career. He also credited Sutherland with teaching him how to breathe correctly.
In the following years, Pavarotti made a series of major debuts, appearing at La Scala in Milan in 1965, San Francisco in 1967 and New York's Metropolitan Opera House in 1968. Other early venues included Vienna, Paris and Chicago.
Throughout his career, Pavarotti struggled with a much-publicized weight problem. His love of food caused him to balloon to a reported high of 396 pounds in 1978.
"Maybe this time I'll really do it and keep it up," he said during one of his constant attempts at dieting.
Pavarotti, who had been trained as a lyric tenor, began taking on heavier dramatic tenor roles, such as Manrico in Verdi's "Trovatore" and the title role in "Otello."
Pavarotti often drew comparisons with Domingo, his most notable contemporary. Aficionados judged Domingo the more complete and consistent musician, but he never captured the public imagination like Pavarotti.
Though there appeared to be professional jealousy between the great singers, Pavarotti claimed he preferred to judge himself only against his earlier performances.
In the mid-1970s, Pavarotti became a true media star. He appeared in television commercials and began appearing in hugely lucrative mega-concerts outdoors and in stadiums around the world. Soon came joint concerts with pop stars. A concert in New York's Central Park in 1993 drew 500,000 fans.
Pavarotti's recording of "Volare" went platinum in 1988.
In 1990, he appeared with Domingo and Carreras in a concert at the Baths of Caracalla in Rome for the end of soccer's World Cup. The concert was a huge success, and the record known as "The Three Tenors" was a best-seller and was nominated for two Grammy awards. The video sold over 750,000 copies.
The three-tenor extravaganza became a mini-industry. With a follow-up album recorded at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles in 1994, the three have outsold every other performer of classical music. A 1996 tour earned each tenor an estimated $10 million.
Pavarotti liked to mingle with pop stars in his series of charity concerts, "Pavarotti & Friends," held annually in Modena. He performed with artists as varied as Ricky Martin, James Brown and the Spice Girls.
The performances raised some eyebrows but he always shrugged off the criticism.
Some say the "word pop is a derogatory word to say 'not important' — I do not accept that," Pavarotti said in a 2004 interview with the AP. "If the word classic is the word to say 'boring,' I do not accept. There is good and bad music."
It was not just his annual extravaganza that saw Pavarotti involved in humanitarian work.
During the 1992-95 Bosnia war, he collected humanitarian aid along with U2 lead singer Bono, and after the war he financed and established the Pavarotti Music Center in the southern city of Mostar to offer Bosnia's artists the opportunity to develop their skills.
He performed at benefit concerts to raise money for victims of tragedies such as an earthquake in December 1988 that killed 25,000 people in northern Armenia.
Pavarotti was also dogged by accusations of tax evasion, and in 2000 he agreed to pay nearly roughly $12 million to the Italian state after he had unsuccessfully claimed that the tax haven of Monte Carlo rather than Italy was his official residence.
He had been accused in 1996 of filing false tax returns for 1989-91.
Pavarotti always denied wrongdoing, saying he paid taxes wherever he performed. But, upon agreeing to the settlement, he said: "I cannot live being thought not a good person."
Pavarotti was preparing to leave New York in July 2006 to resume a farewell tour when doctors discovered a malignant pancreatic mass, his manager Terri Robson said at the time. He underwent surgery in a New York hospital, and all his remaining 2006 concerts were canceled.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most dangerous forms of the disease, though doctors said the surgery offered improved hopes for survival.
"I was a fortunate and happy man," Pavarotti told Italian daily Corriere della Sera in an interview published about a month after the surgery. "After that, this blow arrived."
"And now I am paying the penalty for this fortune and happiness," he told the newspaper.
Fans were still waiting for a public appearance a year after his surgery. In the summer of 2007, Pavarotti taught a group of selected students and worked on a recording of sacred songs, a work expected to be released in early 2008, according to his manager. He mostly divided his time between his home town, Modena, and his villa in the Adriatic seaside resort of Pesaro.
Faced with speculation that the tenor was near death, Mantovani, his second wife, told Italian newspaper La Stampa in July 2007: "He's fighting like a lion and he has never lost his heart."
Pavarotti had three daughters with his first wife, Lorenza, Cristina and Giuliana; and one, Alice, with his second wife.
The Dude Abides!
Sorry folks but I felt it necessary to post this sad news. NB were a great band. My condolences to everyone affected by this loss.
Member of New Bohemians Fatally Shot
By JEFF CARLTON, Associated Press Writer
1 hour ago
DALLAS - Jeffrey Carter Albrecht, a keyboard player for the band Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, was shot to death early Monday while trying to kick in the door of his girlfriend's neighbor, police said.
The neighbor believed a burglar was trying to break in and fired a shot through the door around 4 a.m., Dallas police spokesman Sgt. Gil Cerda said.
Albrecht, 34, died at the scene. It was not clear why Albrecht went to the house and the case is under investigation. No arrests have been made.
"He was at his girlfriend's house last night," said Danny Balis, Albrecht's roommate. "He left the house and went next door and _ for whatever reason, which we don't know _ he knocked on the neighbor's door. And from what I understand, he was persistent. I don't know if there was a verbal exchange, but the person panicked and fired a shot through the door."
The death of Albrecht, who also played keyboard and guitar and sang in the Dallas rock band Sorta with Balis, stunned friends and those who knew him in the North Texas music community.
"He is not a violent person," said Carrie Garcia, Sorta's manager. "He is cool as a cucumber, shy, always wanted to make a joke in a situation that may be a little tense."
Albrecht, who went by his middle name, had been with the New Bohemians since 1999, according to the band's Web site. Albrecht played several times with Brickell's husband, Paul Simon, Garcia said. He also played with Texas musician Charlie Sexton, a renowned guitarist.
Albrecht was working on a solo album that Balis called "the best thing he has ever done."
"He was the best musician I've ever played with _ no question," Balis said. "He could play anything. It's a shame not enough people outside of Dallas heard him."
The Dude Abides!
nice article golden road. there goes another brave independent spirit
nothing left to do but smile, smile, smile
Regrettably, I never made it to the club but enjoyed those bands that may have never been apart of the music scene without Hilly.
CBGB Founder Kristal Dies at 75
By LARRY McSHANE, Associated Press Writer
Wed Aug 29, 4:30 PM
NEW YORK - Hilly Kristal had no idea what he was unleashing when he welcomed a rash of unknown bands onstage in his dank Bowery dive: Television, the Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, the Patti Smith Group.
Kristal, a New Jersey farm boy whose musical tastes ran to tamer fare, had opened CBGB as a haven for country, blues and bluegrass music. Instead, his cramped club became the epicenter of the punk rock movement, setting off a three-chord musical revolution that spread around the world.
Kristal, 75, died of complications from lung cancer at a Manhattan hospice after a long fight with the disease, his family announced Wednesday. CBGB closed last October with a blowout concert by Smith and her band, ending a 33-year run for the dingy space where Kristal operated from a small desk just inside the entrance with its familiar white awning.
"He created a club that started on a small, out-of-the-way skid row, and saw it go around the world," said Lenny Kaye, a longtime member of the Patti Smith Group. "Everywhere you travel around the world, you saw somebody wearing a CBGB T-shirt.
"It was a real rallying point for musicians trying something different."
At the club's boarded-up storefront Wednesday morning, a spray-painted message read, "RIP Hilly, we'll miss you, thank you." There were also a dozen candles, two bunches of flowers and a foam rubber baseball bat _ an apparent tribute to the Ramones' classic "Beat on the Brat."
David Byrne, lead singer with Talking Heads, remembered Kristal's low-key demeanor and generosity.
"Other clubs were all about models and beautiful people, and he was about letting the musicians in for free, to hear music and get cheap beers," Byrne said. "It automatically created a scene, and we'd just hang out all night."
Kristal was an unlikely avatar of punk music, opening his own club in 1973 after booking acts such as Miles Davis at the Village Vanguard. "At first, they didn't play so well," he once said of the seminal punk bands that came to CBGB.
But he became a beloved figure to the performers who used his small venue as a launching pad to stardom, including several that reached the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He also served as manager for the Dead Boys, whose appeal was summed up by their album title "Young Loud & Snotty."
"In an era when disco was the mainstream, Hilly took a chance and gambled," said drummer Marky Ramone. "The gamble paid off for him and for us. We are all grateful to him."
The influence of Kristal's club was pervasive, extending to generations of bands around the country and the globe. Even the landlord who finally evicted Kristal from CBGB first kissed his wife inside its walls, which were plastered with mementoes from bands across the decades.
Kristal's plans for a club attuned to his tastes disappeared when Television, led by Tom Verlaine, began playing Sunday nights in the mid-1970s. Other bands were soon joining them, and CBGB became the place for punk fans to mingle with performers like Joey Ramone, Debbie Harry or the doomed Sid Vicious.
The club lasted into the next century, still adhering to Kristal's insistence that it would only book bands playing original material. He started a lucrative CBGB marketing arm, selling T-shirts and accessories with the club's familiar logo.
In recent years, CBGB became embroiled in a bitter rent fight with its landlord, the Bowery Residents' Committee, an agency housing the homeless. Despite the efforts of musicians to keep the club open, Kristal _ who owed a reported $300,000 in back rent _ agreed to vacate the club last October.
Kristal, who once hoped to have his own singing career, was survived by son Mark Dana; daughter Lisa Kristal Burgman and her husband Ger; two grandchildren, "and the thousands of artists and musicians who played the club," the family said in a statement.
"All energy flows according to the whims of the Great Magnet. What a fool I was to defy him."
So sorry for your loss, Stella.
Karl, my brother-in-law and friend. He was more of a little brother to me as I'vw known him since he was 12. He was a good uncle to my kids and always brought joy and fun to wherever he was. At a Steely Dan show back in the early 90's, we were about the 10th row. While the rest of the slightly older gen was being layed back, we were partying our faces off. Karl rips of his shirt and starts swinging it around, hooting and holloring like the Dead just came on stage. We stood out like sore thumbs, but it was funny as shit.
Karl was killed in a car accident near the Jersey shore early Friday morning. His 37th birhtday is this Mon. I miss and love him more than words can tell. We'll meet again in the after life, my brother.
To Shog, my roomate at college, who turned me onto so many new things, but I got to turn you onto the dead. PS I can actually listen to the Scorps now. Thanks for being my friend. I miss you everyday!!! To Randy agreat friend whom I miss everyday also. Remember the floyd shows. How about that drawing of Jerry you bought at Silver stadium. Yes, I still have it and it will be my sons someday. THANKS Please watch over me and my family and I will see you both again someday PEACE!!
Just wanted to say Happy Birthday Jerry...I really miss you...in this world. Thanks again for the positive... influence, and the light...what a beautiful sunrise your sunset left. And after 198 shows... sometimes ...WoW far~out...
Love One Another
I lost my Sister this past October 17,2006. ( my birthday too) to breast cancer. Her name is Patty, she was my sister and best friend for 47 years! We went to all of our Dead shows together. We loved to party in the parking lots and shopping on Shakedown street.We would dance and spin to the music til we all fell down. I love her and will miss her everyday for the rest of my life!
I hope you are dancin with Jerry now! Peace Patty.... I will miss you always!
thanks for the reminder.