Pavarotti & Friends for the Children of Guatemala and Kosovo
Following successful charity concerts like PAVAROTTI AND FRIENDS and FOR THE CHILDREN OF LIBERIA, this CD captures a joyous outdoor performance in Modena, Italy, from June, 1999. Pavarotti succeeds in uniting Europop veterans like Gianni Morandi and Renato Zero with American stars like Ricky Martin, Mariah Carey, Gloria Estefan, and Lionel Richie. Gravelly-throated Brit rocker Joe Cocker, Irish pinup band Boyzone, and bluesman B. B. King are along for the ride. The result is a feel-good pop event played before an ecstatic crowd. The Orchestra Sinfonica Italiana is enhanced with the endearingly exuberant children of the Guatemala Choir. Alternating solos and duets with Pavarotti, the stars blend in surprisingly well. A high point is B. B. King's "The Thrill Is Gone," with a wordless vocalise added for Luciano that sounds as heartbreaking as a Mascagni aria. The only classical number is an Italian version of the Lehár operetta aria "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz," performed girlishly by Italian newcomer Laura Pausini, aided by Pavarotti's rich tenor. By contrast, even hot young Roman singer-guitarist Alex Britti cannot manage to unite the vocal styles of Pavarotti and Joe Cocker in "You are So Beautiful." The good cause, children's charities in Guatemala and Kosovo, brings out the best in all participants, including a final "We Are the World" that is scrappier, but also much livelier, than the bestselling original. No wonder Spike Lee has filmed the event for video release!