We hope that you’ve made the most of your holidays during this extraordinary year and have found safe ways to connect with family and friends. On this Sunday poised just before the new year, we would like to wish you and yours a better and brighter 2021. We are hopeful although, we know that we are not yet out of the COVID woods. Today we bring you two delights and a phenomenon of nature to ponder.
First, we offer you an acrobatic ballet audition in China for the program World’s Got Talent, choreographed to Loren Allred’s rousing performance of “Never Enough”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94XLKsjkyPY. The performance runs three minutes.The second gift came to us via email, with this introduction:
“Here is an interesting video clip… The very well-known Mario Lanza sang a duet … ‘Ave Maria’ with a young boy in 1950. This young boy was Luciano Pavarotti. Really interesting bit of history – who knew in 1950 that Mario would live such a short life and that Luciano would go on to such acclaim? Mario Lanza only lived from 1921 to 1959 (died at 38). He was one of the best-known tenors of his time. Old timers will remember his movie role as Caruso. In 1950 he sang at a Christmas concert from which this song was selected. This duet featured Mario and a totally unknown young man from the choir… Luciano Pavarotti. And what a powerful voice at such a young age.”
Please watch and enjoy a most memorable “Ave Maria.”
It is quite a moment to see these two never-to-be-forgotten performers, one a boy and the other a man, singing together.
If, indeed, it happened that way.
But is that the boy who grew up to be Luciano? Here are photos of the young Luciano Pavarotti, gleaned from around the internet.
We recognize Pavarotti’s familiar broad forehead, even in childhood. Readers can compare the boy in the video clip with the boy in these photos. Same features? You decide.
We had our doubts. So we undertook a little sleuthing.
We didn’t get far before we confirmed that Luciano Pavarotti was born in 1935, while the film The Great Caruso was released in 1950. We did the math.
So, who was the boy who sang with Mario Lanza?
It turns out that his name was Michael Collins. The voice heard in the film, however, was not a boy’s voice at all. It was instead the voice of American soprano Jacqueline (Jackie) Allen (1925–2009), dubbed over Michael’s!
(“A Mario Lanza Musical Who’s Who,” https://www.mariolanzatenor.com/a-lanza-musical-whos-who.html)
See also this entry for “Jacqueline May Allen” at Feenotes:
It would have been fun if the choir boy had, in fact, been a young Pavarotti, but the truth makes the music no less beautiful. When we listen again, we can remember instead an American soprano by the name of Jackie Allen. It’s a different story but in some ways no less compelling.
Lest we forget that this Christmas and New Year’s season includes a still-unresolved plague, we’ll add this short but important interview of Laurie Garrett as she discusses the new COVID mutation developments:
“What To Know About New Covid Strain Spreading In UK,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUMMRDyzNv0&ab_channel=MSNBC.
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