From Publishers Weekly
In this outspoken and entertaining book, the authors chronicle Breslin's 36 years as publicist and manager for tenor Pavarotti, from the early days when the singer was, Breslin says, "a very beautiful, simple, lovely guy," to the final years of his career, when Breslin found him "a very determined, aggressive, and somewhat unhappy superstar." In Breslin's frank telling, Pavarotti emerges as a charming but utterly impossible man with an outsized ego, a need to dominate, a total disregard for other people (from secretaries and coaches to world-renowned conductors) and a passion for food, women, horses and money. Breslin is blunt about Pavarotti's many quirks and foibles, such as his superstitions, his inability to read music and his frequent failure to learn the words of his opera parts in time for performances. Accounts of the singer's missteps in recent years, such as the embarrassing final Metropolitan Opera appearances, are especially unflattering. Tenor and manager parted by mutual agreement, but Breslin doesn't take the separation lightly. Pavarotti seems unaffected by the acrimony; the book concludes with an interview he gave Midgette, a classical music reviewer for the New York Times
, in which he expresses appreciation for his longtime manager and friend.
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At his career peak, Pavarotti was called the king of the high Cs. But Breslin, his manager for 36 years, called him Mr. Brain; he knew everything, you see. With his clear, projecting voice, Pavarotti rose to fame with a strategy of impressive solo concertizing that eventually propelled him to the operatic stage. His first loves, however, were food and the society of family and friends. Generous, he also had a lazy streak that later stunted the development of his repertoire. He had trouble memorizing words, and he never read music. He moved minimally onstage, preferring to emote through singing, not action; his foray into movies, Yes, Giorgio,
was a near disaster. Breslin's forte was his stubbornness at getting everything his client wanted--and he is driven by money. Sprinkled with many stories of other clients and Pavarotti's costars, the book is more about the manager-client relationship, including the coddling and the epithets, than about Pavarotti per se. Nevertheless, its stories of a star's rise and fall are told from the heart. Alan HirschCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved