A few years before his death, Luciano Pavarotti performed at a fundraiser for the Los Angeles Opera held at the Staples Center. It was shocking to see the most famous tenor in the world being wheeled out in a padded contraption to help him stand. It even had a cup holder. I closed my mouth, however, when he opened his. There he was, his voice was like no other, filling up that difficult venue. During his farewell tour in 2005, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Luciano Pavarotti died in 2007.
Famed soprano Renee Fleming and tenor Andrea Bocelli took to the stage (for the first time together!) Friday night at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for “Remembering Pavarotti,” a concert organized by the Richard Tucker Music Foundation. Proceeds from the gala will be put towards pancreatic cancer research at The Salk Institute. Fleming did a sing-along version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” that left many in tears. The evening was magical and the crowd on their feet often, especially when Pavarotti’s longtime friend Placido Domingo (as one of The Three Tenors he and Pavarotti performed together many times) joined Fleming and Bocelli onstage for ‘Non ti scordar di me.” Emotions were already running high before Domingo spoke about his friend. “What else more can I say about Luciano Pavarotti? His voice has been one of the most beautiful voices, not of our time, but in the history of tenors. Really, his voice was unique,” Domingo said.
Bocelli stopped by dinner afterwards for just a moment (he was hopping on a plane to Philadelphia to sing “The Lord’s Prayer” for the Pope) and Jack Nicholson skipped the 4-course feast all together. Nicholson (looking good!) did, however, run backstage to congratulate Bocelli before he left for the East Coast. Gala chair Goldie Hawn giggled with her old Laugh-In producer George Schlatter and her S.O. Kurt Russell (who, in case you were wondering, has ditched his The Hateful Eight hairdo). Everyone stayed late remembering an opera legend who will live on through music.