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Ron Howard will direct a new documentary about Luciano Pavarotti


Ron Howard and Brian Grazer’s Imagine Entertainment and Nigel Sinclair and Guy East’s White Horse Pictures will team up again following the success of their documentary The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years, to produce a newly authorized documentary based on the life of acclaimed tenor, philanthropist and 20th Century icon, Luciano Pavarotti. The film will be made in collaboration with Polygram Entertainment, a Universal Music Group partner, and STUDIOCANAL, who will co-finance the feature. STUDIOCANAL and White Horse Pictures will also oversee international sales. Additionally, White Horse Pictures will direct North American sales.

Luciano Pavarotti is recognized as one of the most popular classical artists in the history of the recording industry. He was an enigma. Reportedly, he could not read music, and he was a natural talent. Emerging from simple beginnings in Northern Italy – his father was a baker, his mother rolled cigars – he exploded on the opera scene in Covent Garden, London in the 1960’s, and from there went on to become a massive figure in culture, arts and ultimately, popular culture. Like so many great artists, Pavarotti’s journey was one of challenges and contradictions, ups and downs, loves and loves lost. So many people know of him, and very few know anything about him. The film will seek to explore the challenging, tempestuous, and triumphant journey of this master artist and huge world figure.

‘Nessun Dorma’ from the final act of Puccini’s opera Turandot was the tenor’s signature aria and his powerful performances of it cemented his global popularity proven by his album sales that reached well over 100 million and racked up five out of the 20 best-selling classical music LPs ever sold worldwide.

The film will be directed by Academy Award®winning director Ron Howard who will produce alongside Nigel Sinclair, Brian Grazer, Michael Rosenberg and Jeanne Elfant Festa. The creative team will be joined by Eight Days A Week award-winning writer Mark Monroe and award-winning editor Paul Crowder. White Horse’s Guy East and Nicholas Ferrall will serve as Executive Producers along with Crowder and Monroe. Cassidy Hartmann will serve as a consulting writer and Co-Executive Producer. Mark McCune will serve as Supervising Producer. Dickon Stainer, President and CEO of Global Classics, UMG, and David Blackman, Head of Polygram Entertainment, along with Didier Lupfer and Ron Halpern for STUDIOCANAL, will also serve as Executive Producers. The feature documentary will be produced with the full cooperation of the Pavarotti Estate, Universal Music Classics and Decca Records.

Ron Howard says of the maestro, “Pavarotti’s life was replete with the highs and lows of great drama and, like any compelling character, he was also a man of considerable contradictions. His artistic ambition, propelled by his massive talent, and his deep love for humanity drove his career and the powerful bond with his audiences, but they also fueled his other life as a world philanthropist. I am intrigued by the way his emotional passion not only drove his music and his powerful bond with his audiences, but his gift of his other life as a philanthropist.”

Brian Grazer says, “This is a man who spent his life searching for success, searching for his soul, and seeking his own fulfillment, while the rest of us looked on in awe at his talent and enormous, magical personality.”

Nigel Sinclair added, “Pavarotti’s humble beginnings – the son of a baker, who grew up in a small town in Italy, and grew up to be one of the most acclaimed high classical artists in human history – is a truly powerful and life-affirming tale. It is great to reunite the team to tell the story of this incredible artist.”

Ron Halpern, EVP International Production and Acquisitions, who will be following the project for STUDIOCANAL along with Shana Eddy-Grouf, SVP of International Production and Development, said: “We all had such a great experience working together with Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Nigel and Guy on The Beatles: Eight Days a Week and are excited to begin another film together so quickly. Studiocanal and Universal Music have been working more and more together to find great film stories with Universal Music talent and Pavarotti is one of the most iconic musical figures of the last 50 years.”

With his large white handkerchief, a personal trademark, he is perhaps synonymous with opera to generations of people throughout the world. In his 71 years he transcended the boundaries of his art form to become a singular icon of culture and public life, indeed a “world citizen”.

A love or knowledge of opera is not necessary to appreciate Pavarotti’s exceptionalism. His genius can be felt by anyone who has ever seen him perform: in the warmth of his enormous smile, his larger- than-life physicality and, of course, in the soul-stirring power of his unparalleled voice. Pavarotti remained a performer for the people, drawing an audience from all sectors of society who came to know him as the “King of the High C’s”.

Pavarotti was known for his humanitarian work. He was the founder and host of the ‘Pavarotti & Friends’ annual charity concerts and related activities in Modena, Italy. There he sang with international stars of all styles to raise funds for war-torn children and many other causes. He also established and financed the Pavarotti Music Center in Bosnia and raised funds in charity concerts for refugees from Afghanistan and Kosovo.

Pavarotti was also the first opera singer to become an arena star; taking his finest arias out of the opera house and into suitably jumbo-sized venues in which he could sing, as a solo performer, to tens of thousands of people.

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