The Voice. The Man. The Drama. The Legend.

A portrait of a man blessed with one of the 20th century’s most beloved voices, Pavarotti is, like many authorized biographical documentaries, informative, more than a little reverential, yet entertaining enough. Even for opera neophytes who couldn’t tell a soprano from a tenor, Ron Howard’s brisk, engaging film capably maps out an art form that Luciano Pavarotti ruled for decades, including enough technical insight to go along with an overview of the maestro’s personal and professional highlights.

Poster for the documentary PavarottiThe film’s initial stretches prove most satisfying because they delve into opera’s rarefied milieu, and recordings of Pavarotti’s early performances illustrate what a powerful, emotional voice he had, even at a young age.

Pavarotti was far from a perfect person, however, and the movie dutifully chronicles his infidelities, spending considerable time interviewing soprano Madelyn Renee and former personal assistant Nicoletta Mantovani, whom he married in 2003.

Regardless, the film succeeds in its primary task, which is to remind viewers of the man’s greatest musical accomplishments. Whether it’s the years as opera’s brightest star or his later participation in the Three Tenors, Pavarotti was a titanic force who was courted by world leaders and rock artists alike.

– Tim Grierson, Screen Daily

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