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Pavarotti wins ovations at La Scala opening

December 8, 1985

MILAN, Italy (AP) _ Two years after drawing boos from the demanding audiences of La Scala, Luciano Pavarotti won ovations, a shower of flowers and critical praise for his opening night performance Saturday of Verdi’s ″Aida.″

″Luciano Pavarotti is the big star of this show,″ wrote Duilio Courir, music critic for Milan’s Corriere della Sera, Italy’s largest-selling daily. ″The voice of Pavarotti is marvel that never lets him down.″

Pavarotti squeezed the hands of Maria Chiara, in the title role, and Ghena Dimitrova as they stepped out for eight curtain calls.

Lorin Maazel conducted the opera that was directed by Luca Ronconi.

The audience in the sold-out opera house showed their admiration for Pavarotti early in the four-act opera. After he finished his first solo the performance was interrupted with shouts of ″Bravo 3/8″

As opening night approached, Italian critics had questioned if the 50-year- old Pavarotti would again displease La Scala’s audience, as he did in March 1983 in his last previous appearance here. His tenor voice failed in the finale of Donizetti’s ″Lucia di Lammermoor″ and the audience gave him a chorus of catcalls.

Mauro Pagano’s scenery was huge, taking three months to make and 60 stagehands to move the Sphynx into place. Extras during a bath scene in the second act included female court attendants in topless costumes.

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