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Subject: Re: Bonynge Interview about Pavarotti
From: Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Maxwell Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 30 Sep 2016 21:39:49 -0700

text/plain (75 lines)

Les, a little more context is called for around the Leontyne Price comment.

She did say something like this.  It was in San Francisco in Autumn of 1981.

SF Opera had mounted a big hoopla around a production of “Aida” in which Pavarotti was doing his first staged Rhadames.  Aida was Margaret Price and Amneris was Stefani Toczyska, Simon Estes as Amonasro and Navarro conducting.  A huge amount of the attention was around Pavarotti.

Margaret Price developed a bad case of bronchitis during the run. Company GM Kurt Herbert Adler was searching for a reasonable cover and thought of Leontyne Price, who was in town at that time doing “Trovatore” with Bonisolli.  Even though Leontyne Price later famously did her Met farewell as Aida, at that time in 1981 she had actually quasi “retired” the role and not sung it for several years.

Adler begged her (it was very special to him, as it was his last season as GMD) and, after some reluctance, she started to let herself be persuaded.  When it came to fee discussions, she asked Adler “How much you payin’ the fat boy?  I want one dollar more.”  Aida found its way back into her throat even more easily than she thought and it led her to take up more performances, including another run in SF for which she was the planned Aida a few years later and the famous Met farewell.

Sergio’s comment has validity.  Sure, it’s gross to see someone vastly overweight.  But it’s not like sheer greed and gluttony do that.  Many people eat as much as they feel like and eat whatever they feel like and never get grossly fat like that.  And, yes, there are known ties between obesity and the problems you mention of diabetes, heart disease, but actually the causal connection to cancer, particularly liver or pancreatic cancer, is still very mysterious to the medical community.  Many very fit and healthy people get it and die from it and many very heavy people who never exercise don’t.

I worked with Steve Jobs (not directly, but close enough to be around him a lot) and he was not only vegetarian, macrobiotic, etc. but he had an absolute horror of any kind of fat.  He was always extremely slender, but he developed pancreatic cancer that then spread to his liver.

So saying Pavarotti and Johan Botha ate and drank themselves to death by liver or pancreatic cancer is passing a judgement about something nobody actually knows about.

Max Paley

> On Sep 30, 2016, at 7:39 PM, Les Mitnick <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I have no intention of getting into a pissing match over this. Everyone knows about the dangers of carrying around an extra 150 to 200 pounds. It increases the odds for diabetes, heart disease, stomach and colon cancers, as well as a plethora of other problems. It's also causes blood pressure to rise to dangerous levels. You don't have to be a doctor to know that a man who's 200 pounds overweight and eats like a god-damned horse is a walking time bomb waiting to explode. 
> This is not a matter of body shaming. It's a matter of life and death. Any intelligent human being knows this. Yes, Pavarotti had a great career, but it could have been a far greater and monumental career. He never achieved the artistic potential that his magnificent voice warranted. 
> When Leontyne Price was asked to sing with Pavarotti, she accepted, but she said, "provided I get paid more than the fat man" 
> 'Nuff closed. 
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Sergio da Silva" <[log in to unmask]> 
> To: "Les Mitnick" <[log in to unmask]> 
> Cc: "OPERA-L" <[log in to unmask]> 
> Sent: Friday, September 30, 2016 6:01:16 PM 
> Subject: Re: Bonynge Interview about Pavarotti 
> I know you have a friend who is a doctor but can you provide any medical journal that proves your theory of obesity to cause pancreatic cancer. And why this obsession in denigrating obese singers? 
> While Pavarotti was at t he top of his game he overshadowed his competition and had quite a long career. 
> On Friday, September 30, 2016, Les Mitnick < [log in to unmask] > wrote: 
> <blockquote>
> --------------------------------------------------------- 
> </blockquote>
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