RENOWNED Irish tenor Finbar Wright will celebrate the life and music of Pavarotti in the University Concert Hall this Valentine’s night.
Wright’s career has been profoundly influenced by the Italian maestro, who first came to Ireland to sing the year the tenor was born - 1957.
“I met him a few times, always in Dublin, funnily enough - I met him in the Gaiety originally in 1979 when he did a recital with piano,” explained Finbar.
“At that stage he wasn’t really known outside classical circles. Then about ten years later he came back to the RDS - Jim Aiken brought him - and suddenly he was a worldwide star and had crossed over into popular music and it was a different world. He was a very charming man, big hearted.”
Some advice Pavarotti gave the Irish tenor has always stuck with him, Finbar revealed.
“The first time I met him he spoke about the Italian folk songs and how great they were for training your voice naturally because they have these lovely open vowel sounds in Italian and were written almost like scales.
“He recommended them to me and they have been part of my life and part of the repertoire ever since.”
This influence is to be celebrated in the UCH next week, as Finbar celebrates Pavarotti and his legacy in a “multi-media presentation”, performing some of the Italian’s greatest songs.
“It should be a very enjoyable night, it is a fairly broad repertoire and we really take people through his life in an audio-visual sense as well,” he said.
“The songs complement that as it moves along,” he added, noting that favourites on the night will include Volare, Caruso, Torna A Surriento, O Sole Mio and the glorious Nessun Dorma.
“It is what I call the lighter side of Pavarotti. I really feel myself when it came to his personality and that, it really shone when he sang the Italian folk songs, when he was able to leave aside the strictures of serious classical arias and things like that.
“He loved them, no doubt about it and he beamed as soon as he started into things like O Sole Mio and all these things. His technique was phenomenal, which he held throughout his life and even at the very end.”
Finbar Wright performs in the UCH on Friday, February 14