Pavarotti’s hometown divided by bitter debate over statue

2010-11-18 14:58

Modena – The Italian city of Modena is divided over a proposal to erect a statue in honour of one of its most famous sons, opera star Luciano Pavarotti.

Debate raged on whether the monument to the tenor, who died in 2007 at the age of 71, should be in bronze or marble, the La Stampa daily reported.

But rifts, often along political-party lines, have also erupted over what artistic style best represents Pavarotti, who was known for his opera roles as much as his duets at benefit concerts with pop stars such as Sting, Bono and Mariah Carey.

Some, like Modena’s top town planning official, Daniele Sitta, favour a statue portraying Pavarotti, who was born in Modena in 1935, in a “traditional” pose.

The wide-armed gesture with which Pavarotti used to acknowledge the applause that inevitably followed one of his many celebrated performances would be perfect, according to Sitta.

Others, like the opposition centre-right politician Enrico Aimi, insist on an equestrian statue, one that would celebrate Pavarotti’s passion for horses.

The portly singer once rode one down New York’s 5th Avenue during a Columbus Day parade, Aimi pointed out.

But the town hall official responsible for culture, Roberto Alperoli, said all efforts should be made to avoid “kitsch”. Instead, he proposes a “modern interpretation” to be commissioned from an artist chosen through an international competition.

Meanwhile, soprano Mirella Freni, a childhood playmate of Pavarotti’s, has expressed concern that the row risks scuppering the entire project.

But Modena mayor Giorgio Pighi told La Stampa that his municipal council had taken an unanimous decision on the matter.

“In the end, the statue will be made. That’s the only issue that is not up for discussion,” Pighi said.

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