I think a life in music is a life beautifully spent and this is what I have devoted my life to - Luciano
From: Bono - Muhamed Sacirbey - Danny Schechter - Nenad Bach Some can sing opera, Luciano Pavarotti was an opera.
No one could inhabit those acrobatic melodies and words like him. He lived the songs, his opera was a great mash of joy and sadness; surreal and earthy at the same time; a great volcano of a man who sang fire but spilled over with a love of life in all its complexity, a great and generous friend.
Great, great fun, The Pavlova we used to call him. An emotional arm twister if he wanted you to do something for him he was impossible to turn down. A great flatterer.
When he wanted U2 to write him a song he rang our housekeeper, Theresa, continually so we talked about little else in our house.
When he wanted U2 to play his festival in Modena, he turned up in Dublin unannounced with a film crew, and door-stopped the band. His life and talent was large but his sense of service to the weak and vulnerable was larger.
We wrote Miss Sarajevo for him. He had worked on the humanitarian crisis that was the war in Bosnia. We travelled together on a UN air force flight to Mostar... all of us earnest in hard hats, just about strapped into this industrial aircraft with the big man handing out parmigiano from Reggio Emilia, "the best cheese in the world" he kept saying deadpan to make us laugh.
In Pesaro, in his summer house, he lived an almost bohemian life with a recording studio set up in an out house - but did all his vocals in his bedroom... there was a hammock hung between two marine pines for a siesta. He liked to eat, sleep and then warm up his vocals though I remember more eating than warming up. When we first recorded with him I left a stone heavier than I arrived.
Intellectually curious, couldn't stick to his own generation - loved new ideas, new people, new song forms.
A sexy man whose life lit up again when he fell in love with Nicoletta and as he watched Alice play in the yard. He loved all his daughters so much. The sadness of losing his only boy his only silence.
I spoke to him last week... the voice that was louder than any rock band was a whisper. Still he communicated his love. Full of love.
That's what people don't understand about Luciano Pavarotti. Even when the voice was dimmed in power, his interpretive skills left him a giant among a few tall men.
When Pavarotti Came to Mostar, (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
By Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey
December 21 1997 was cold, overcast and rainy, and Mostar seemed to have forgotten for that day Mediterranean weather and the disposition that glowed over its golden countryside for almost all of the rest of the year. Mostar had already been denied its historic Ottoman era arch bridge over the NeretvaRiver. However, Pavarotti had not forgotten to come to Mostar on that day.
Pavarotti was coming to Mostar to ceremonially launch the PavarottiMusicCenter. A few months earlier he had accepted my formal invitation letter, on behalf of War Child as well Bosnia & Herzegovina, to have this center blessed with his name. However, his commitment to Bosnia & Herzegovina and its children was much more than ceremonial.
Luciano Pavarotti organized a grand charity concert almost every year in his hometown of Modena, Italy. In September of 1995, the concert was on behalf of the children of Bosnia & Herzegovina, particularly the War Child foundation and its efforts in Mostar. That night started late and went well into the next day, on the Modena stage drowned in Italian TV cameras and surrounded by thousands of standing fans who never seemed to wane below Category 4.
Pavarotti was not a Master of Ceremonies so much as constant setter of tone and energy for each of his guest performers. After each guest solo, Brian Eno, Michael Bolton, Meatloaf, Zuccero, Nenad Bach, The Edge and, of course, Bono, Pavarotti would appear on stage to join each in a duet. The performances did not just materialize on stage, but had to be rehearsed days in advance as Luciano played personal host at his home to each of the stars. On stage, it was probably the last time that Bono and Pavarotti, accompanied by The Edge and Eno, performed "Miss Sarajevo" in person, together.
The night or more accurately, the morning stretched out to an elaborate dinner at a military academy turned into giant ballroom. Presumably on basis of diplomatic protocol, as Foreign Minister of Bosnia & Herzegovina, I shared the table with Princess Diana, Pavarotti and a small flock of society baronesses of Italy. They surrounded Diana, but their lack of English left the Princess with no option but to converse with me while the ladies surrounded Di for photographic intimacy.
Luciano had even more demanding protocol to observe. He was greeted by ripples of well wishers and enthusiasts, who despite their formal attire and fashion still could not shed their enthusiasm as aficionados or, just seekers of intimacy with fame. For each guest or enthusiast that approached our table, Pavarotti lifted his super sized body to respond, with superhuman grace to the greeting. Maybe, he was not always genuine, but neither the greeters nor I could recognize any lack of sincerity. Nicolleta was not at his side, but she was already a steady and uplifting presence for him. This would not be Pavarotti's last performance in Modena or beyond on behalf of the Children of Bosnia & Herzegovina. The last time that we met was in New York where he again enthused on behalf of War Child and young victims around the world.
Pavarotti's Reputation for Canceling
The line of hopeful greeters for Pavarotti on December 21, 1997, was getting longer by the hour as we waited for him to land at MostarAirport. As was the case at least then, the line too often swelled with "international officials" who saw themselves as the primary dignitaries. They wondered if their 15 minutes of fame would vanish with one of Pavarotti's famous cancellations.
Despite having a difficult time making the journey physically and having cancelled a performance in England only days before, Pavarotti did not disappoint the citizens of Mostar. He flew in with Bono and Eno, and entered the town in an escort fit for a conquering Caesar. Even Bono was demoted to supporting cast seated in a jeep with me.
However, when Pavarotti walked out of the specifically designed carriage into the MusicCenter, he was one with his hosts, as gracious in Mostar as in Modena. He did not sing that night, as he had just cancelled a concert due to his physical condition, but he was an active partner in the opening performances and ceremony.
A Vision of What Bosnia & Herzegovina Needed
Pavarotti came to help the Children of Bosnia & Herzegovina. He came to give his name and visibility to a modest MusicCenter that would become a recording home to many local and international stars. He gave all Bosnians & Herzegovinians the opportunity to see themselves the light of a gloomy winter, evening, but with the approaching prospect of days again lengthening to greet a new spring. It was a night for all Bosnians & Herzegovinians to stand together and greet Pavarotti and the vision for a new spring.
Thank You Luciano:
You were a true friend of Bosnia & Herzegovina, Children and an inspiration. I am not a musician, but as most of us frustrated by how little our words do to change deeds and physical reality. As a diplomat with a global platform at the United Nations, I did not feel that my rhetoric was graced by sincerity until I could affect the life of any single individual. When I was approached by Elissa Montanti in 1996, I helped her found the Global Medical Relief Fund to help child victims of war and natural disaster recover and rehabilitate. Elissa's efforts and each child that GMRF helps is a source of empowerment, the well of hope that nurtures me now and probably the strength that fueled Luciano Pavarotti's giving of himself with Grace. It is a lesson for all of us.
The Great Tenor Gave Voice to his Need to Help the Children by Giving Tangibly of Himself and His Status.
What I learned from Luciano is enthusiasm. He was a friend of underdogs. He was a friend of Croatia and Bosnia - Herzegovina, when we really needed help. The Concert in Modena, Italy "Pavarotti and Friends for children of Bosnia" that I was part of on and off the stage happened on September 12th 1995. One billion people have seen the concert.
2 months later.
After having been initialed in Dayton, Ohio on November 21, 1995 the full and formal peace treaty agreement was signed in Paris, France, on December 14, 1995 also by French President Jacques Chirac, U.S. President Bill Clinton, UK Prime Minister John Major, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.
I remember many details from personal meetings with Princess Diana, Roy Disney, King of Marocco, Ambassador Muhamed Sacirbey, Bono, The Edge, Brain Eno, Danny Schechter... and many other musical stars. All of us with one intention - TO STOP THE WAR.
For a known reason to me I spoke with Muhamed Mo Sacirbey and Danny Schechter today going back in time and memory lane together. The day before, for an unknown reason, Mo and I sat on a bench at the Union Square in Manhattan and reminisced life and all the detailed moments from Modena probably at the same time that Luciano was saying last goodbyes. I remember Danny arranging personal meeting with the Princess through my bodyguard and her security. I vividly remember Mo being behind the stage in 1995 talking to everybody and I was asking myself, why isn't any Croatian representative here? Why don't we have an educated cowboy (Colombia Degree in Law) representing us like Bosnia Herzegovina did? The reason U2 played in Sarajevo was Mo in Modena.
We did everything we could to stop the war and all was possible because of Luciano's energy, good intentions, fame and willingness to help those in needs. I am grateful to Beata Pozniak who arranged with Luciano Pavarotti to see my video "Can We Go Higher?" and then Luciano decided to include me as a part of the concert. I am grateful for every barley coffee I had with Luciano. You learn by osmosis, watching masters doing ordinary things. And there was no need to go through five secretaries. Luciano picked up the phone himself when I called with his voice that is beyond our time. There will be a great welcoming party today in front of the St. Peter's gate of heaven.
Nenad Bach teaching Bono Vox the Croatian verses O lijepa, o draga, o slatka slobodo, can be seen at the above Nenad Bach Press Kit at 03:33 min. The verses, meaning Oh beautiful, oh precious, oh sweet Liberty, had been written by a famous Croatian poet Ivan Gundulic, Dubrovnik, from the 17th century. The verses are recited by Bono at the end of the title song
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Vale Luciano Pavarotti! You will always be remembered for your gift of music and for what you did for humanity.
All your valuable contributions, especially the Modena concert, will forever be cherished.
Love and peace from one of your countless devoted fans.