Thursday, September 06, 2007

RIP, Luciano


The big man reversed generations of blue-collar bias against opera. Opera became something for everyone. Opera became ...gulp...cool? Well, where do you think they get the term "soap opera" from? Seriously, put an Eric Jerome Dickey book to music (called the libretto), translate it into Italian and dress the characters in 19th Century peasant garb, or Egyptian robes or Spanish cavalry breeches and you'd have the formula for almost all of the biggest operas of the last 200 years. The stories aren't very original, but the passion literally can race you through four different emotions in one aria. This dude brought that notion down to earth. Now we're left with Robin Thicke. Oh well
Luciano, Bravo!!!

9 comments:

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Did you ever see the duet he did with James Brown? I just saw it on YouTube.

This year it seems like we have lost quite a few of our giants. Sad.

LaJane Galt said...

I've seen Aretha hold her own w/ him too.

EJD - DON'T give anyone ideas. Chitlin circuit opera, move over Jessye Norman, it's Madea!!

Lisa said...

I never got into opera, but the mad was a "big" superstar. Amusing stance about EJD books and opera. I know you are messing around but I guess it's fairly close to the truth when you look at his story lines and something like La Boeheme or Madame Butterfly, right? Cheezy, except the Italian makes it classy? NOT! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Man you are cold! (but for real, you have a point about Dickey's stories)

I'll let the Robin Thicke comment slide.

Pavarotti became a caricuture of himself in the last few years but he was still a giant in his genre.

Anonymous said...

If EJD's books are soap operas, what are Terry McMillan's?

nabila J said...

Eric Jerome Dickey's works are a few cuts above Terry McMillan's and always have been, although in the last few years the quality of both has lowered. The issue for me has always been that the era these two writers helped usher in of novels for a mass black audience cuts both ways. It opened up a big readership that was longing for fiction that was akin to Nora Roberts and Jackie Collins. Up until then there were big African American name novelists but they were writing very deep literary fiction that was important and even sold well because both educated African Americans and Caucasians were buying it and of course reading it in high school and college class. As Mr. Chambers pointed out so many times, somebody flipped the script. I agree with him that the point should be to balance, rather than totally swing a pendulum.

Lisa said...

I never got into opera, but the mad was a "big" superstar. Amusing stance about EJD books and opera. I know you are messing around but I guess it's fairly close to the truth when you look at his story lines and something like La Boeheme or Madame Butterfly, right? Cheezy, except the Italian makes it classy? NOT! ;-)

byrdparker said...

i always loved classical , and opera was not my thing , until i saw philadelphia , i think he was listening to a aria by maria callas . I fell in love ... rip luciano Pavaroti!

Lola Gets said...

I loved the "Pavarotti and Friends" programs on PBS!
L