Most people who did not get tickets for the Luciano Pavarotti show on Sunday March 5, will want to know what happened. In a nutshell, it went extremely well!
This is perhaps the only place in the world where Pavarotti would sing with reggae music heard in the background. On Sunday night that music came from Barbican Square. It is only in Jamaica that there would a man selling cashew nuts at $100 per bag, who, when questioned about the high price he declared “It is Pavarotti price.”
“Hey are you supplied to be here?” asked one of the formally dressed persons present. “No,” replied the neatly dressed seller, “but I will be unless they throw me out” No one did. The drizzle on previous days, which looked like it would dampen this performance, gave way to a clear night on Sunday. Anticipating a crush for parking space, people started to arrive from five o’clock. The maestro was still practicing on the temporary stage set up at Kings House when the crowd started to filter onto the lawn.
Luciano Pavarotti, superstar tenor, with Leone Magiera on piano, was presented on a sort of Georgian-type white verandah with a gigantic floral arrangement and oversized breadfruit leaves in the background. The crowd sat back and enjoyed. The programme seemed far too short, even though all the songs were in Italian. Andrea Griminelli, a brilliant flautist played during breaks in the recital, while the great tenor rested his voice. And, at the end of the night when white roses were presented to the tenor, after little girls dressed like spring maidens with wreaths on their heads tossed white carnation petals in the air, the crowd left the ground filled with songs of spring in their heads.
Pavorottimania had been building steadily, and reached fever pitch on Sunday night. What was the mystique behind the name, the man, the enormous tenor talent?
On Ash Wednesday March 1, when Pavarotti arrived, the media met him just inside the building near the airport tarmac amidst an overflow of flowers from unopened pods of ackee to cascade bunches of jade.
Pavarotti endeared himself to the media when he declared he could not have a press conference with the aeroplanes “and please close the door to the tarmac” This the authorities responded to in a flash.
Everyone kept an eye on the waning days while he flirted with the media and told the entire story of an opera, using up the time that would have been used for questions and answers. After the flight from Buenos Aires he explained that he planned to spend a few quiet days at San Souci lido.
“Quiet” was not precisely how the reports of the time spent came back to Kingston. At a dinner at the Enchanted Gardens, he enjoyed himself so much he decided to give a mini concert.
What was it about Pavorotti which made him different? Perhaps it is his elegance, the wicked twinkle in his eyes, the expanse of his chest, the control and ease with which he twists and turns a note.
Who could resist him when he dedicated the first of three encore pieces for the beautiful Jamaican women?
How could he resist the Jamaican audience when everyone rose to their feet and refused to let him leave the stage for at least 30 minutes?
Picture: Hugh Shearer, former Prime Minister (left) and Laurel Williams meet Joe Issa of Sans Souci Lido at the super concert which lasted over 90 minutes.
Source: The Star