When I was four years old, I forced my parents to show me how to use the family’s turntable record player so that I could play my favorite albums any time I wanted. Those albums were, in order, Stevie Wonder’s “Talking Book”, and a collection of arias sung by Luciano Pavarotti.
Once upon a time, about 15 years ago now, I waited in line for six hours outside the Philadelphia Academy of Music, being awkwardly hit on by the ex-wife of my ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend the entire damn time, in order to get $10 student nosebleed seats (literally, the highest row in the building) to see Pavarotti perform Leoncavello’s “Pagliacci” with the Philadelphia Orchestra.
I can’t think of another artist I’d have been willing to do that for, except perhaps, naturally, Stevie Wonder. The funny thing is, I mostly don’t like opera that much as an adult: but the man’s voice cut through any kind of objection and lodged straight in your heart. I miss him already.