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June 12, 2007 7:54 PM   Subscribe

Nessun Dorma : Potts vs. Pavarotti - While Pavarotti's version is generally thought to be one of the best (though some might claim that honor for Corelli) this unassuming mobile phone salesman from South Wales pulls off an amazing performance.
posted by Liosliath (74 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
 
I posted this mainly because I'm enjoying the opera "purists" getting their shorts in a knot, with comments like "It might sound better to your untrained ear," and "Something is badly wrong is you find his version better.....SERIOUSLY! iF YOU SUGGESTED THAT TO ANYONE INVOLVED IN THE CLASSICAL MUSIC WORLD YOU WOULD BE DISMISSED OUT OF HAND!!!!IT SIMPLY ISNT THE CASE! OPINION DOESNT COME INTO IT!"

More fun : Discussion/translation of Nessun Dorma, Corelli making the best Calaf, and a really awful version by Damien Leith.

Obviously, Potts does not have the technical skill yet, but his talent and genuine emotion are undeniable.
posted by Liosliath at 8:03 PM on June 12, 2007


Whoops, Damien.
posted by Liosliath at 8:04 PM on June 12, 2007




I liked all those (ok, particularly the monkey puppet guy), but I thought I'd get strung up if I included them.
posted by Liosliath at 8:16 PM on June 12, 2007


Oh, and the guy that nearly kills his daughter during a knife throwing act. They stop him before anything bad happens.
posted by puke & cry at 8:18 PM on June 12, 2007


I'd check out the baton guy if that's the only one you see.
posted by puke & cry at 8:21 PM on June 12, 2007


Oh, right, the "bah-ten" twirling.
posted by Liosliath at 8:23 PM on June 12, 2007


I'm an opera purist and am pretty damn impressed with Potts.
posted by honeydew at 8:25 PM on June 12, 2007


My god! I doubt that Jim Henson's Creature Workshop could create a better sad sack. The posture! The cheeks! The teeth!

Also, I finally understood why fat opera singers get so much tail.
posted by Kattullus at 8:31 PM on June 12, 2007


My favorite aria. No Pavarotti, to be sure, but very very good. Pavarotti's "Nessun Dorma" always, ALWAYS makes me get misty, and this guy's did the same.

And that was with my eyes closed, not looking at his teeth.
posted by supercres at 8:33 PM on June 12, 2007


Oh man, the baton twirling guy clip made me laugh, sit back in awe and finally cry with joy. MY EMOTIONS HAVE BEEN TOYED WITH AND THAT'S OKAY!
posted by Kattullus at 8:39 PM on June 12, 2007


Anyone know what area the baton twirler is from? The accent plus "When I were 3" and "When I were younger" struck me as unusual.
posted by Liosliath at 8:46 PM on June 12, 2007


And if the baton kid every wants to go to uni, I think I know what could get him a full ride.
posted by Liosliath at 8:58 PM on June 12, 2007


Using youtube to post CDs online—e.g. Corelli fpp link—as web 2.0 drm?
Comedians' sites/myspace seem to use it a fair bit. /OT
posted by acro at 9:05 PM on June 12, 2007


Some amazing and heartwarming performances, but the direction on that show makes me want to smack somebody. There's a kid on stage doing jaw-dropping things with a baton and I'm force-fed this Simon character's ugly sucker and crowd shots. WTFTV?
posted by carsonb at 9:12 PM on June 12, 2007


I listened to the Pavarotti version first... and now I don't even want to listen to the other guy sing it. In fact, I don't want to listen to another piece of music for the rest of the night. Pavarotti's "Nessun dorma" is fucking brilliant.
posted by the_bone at 9:32 PM on June 12, 2007


This is indeed delightful, and one would have to have a heart of stone not to enjoy it and wish him some success. And the_bone, have a listen to Jussi Björling's Nessun Dorma (any version from 1930's through 1950's). You won't want to listen to another piece of music for the rest of the year.
posted by QuietDesperation at 10:02 PM on June 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Björling. Wow. Just...wow.
posted by Liosliath at 10:06 PM on June 12, 2007


Pavarotti loves elephants.
posted by homunculus at 10:31 PM on June 12, 2007


What a wonderful performance! Thanks for posting this!

I hunted up to find out more about Paul; it seems he's not quite the 'amateur beginner' that we are sort of led to believe from that clip. Hope to hear more from him as time goes by!
posted by woodblock100 at 11:24 PM on June 12, 2007


Ecco Christian, belting out Calaf's aria — 'midst the gluttunous mob, seated over a pint of lager, and backed by a squeezebox — live from Alfredo di Roma (Centro di EPCOT)!
posted by rob511 at 11:25 PM on June 12, 2007


Crap, thanks Woodblock, I swear I Googled him - my only excuse is that the wiki page was only created on the 11th, so it isn't showing up in searches yet...
posted by Liosliath at 12:17 AM on June 13, 2007


Neat. Kind of bizarre. They just get random people to do their auditions in front of audiences now?

Simon's still annoying.

But who's that absolutely lovely girl?
posted by blacklite at 12:39 AM on June 13, 2007


Here's another talent stand-out, Scott the break dancer.

I agree with the comment about the direction of the show. Way too many cuts. But I guess that's how it goes in the first round.
posted by puke & cry at 12:42 AM on June 13, 2007


Who are the tards talking to him when he comes off the stage? Ant and Dec?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 12:48 AM on June 13, 2007


Opera as Karaoke
posted by A189Nut at 12:52 AM on June 13, 2007


The female judge said: "lump of coal that is going to turn into a diamond", and "frog that is a prince in disguise". I wondered if she could be any more condescending or insulting, especially given that she was obviously moved by his performance. Couldn't she have just said he was great without bringing his looks into it. I admit that his unconventional appearance increases the surprise factor, but still.

Also, in some ways I liked the gong show better than all these talent shows put together.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:11 AM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


potsmokinghippieoverlord - Yep, the duo talking to him and Granny offstage are indeed And and Dec.
posted by MrMustard at 1:16 AM on June 13, 2007


Am I the only person in the world who hates talent shows?
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:37 AM on June 13, 2007


Well I hate talent shows and American Idol and Simon Cowell and opera and I'd probably hate the rest of this show, too. But this clip is so appealing I've watched it 5 times. It's corny, but the "diamond in the rough" thing gets me right here *taps heart*

I hope this guy wins.
posted by zardoz at 1:55 AM on June 13, 2007


Liosliath writes 'Björling. Wow. Just...wow.'

And I was very amused by all of the 'your favourite opera singer sucks' comments on that youtube page.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:06 AM on June 13, 2007


Well I hate talent shows and American Idol and Simon Cowell and opera and I'd probably hate the rest of this show, too. But this clip is so appealing I've watched it 5 times.

Pop Idol, X-Factor, whatever... I just run screaming.

I just find these shows excruciating, and not funny or ironic or anything apart from being sad and depressing and obnoxious. Even the poor sods with 'good voices' have sold all their personal integrity by going on such an awful show (and they tend to clog up the airwaves with really awful albums for months thereafter).

So, American Idol is #1, and gets more votes than a General Election. That's sad in and of itself. I grumble, everyone dismisses me; life goes on.

BUT NO! Now, the bastards in London have found a NEW WAY to torture me. They've combined the world's worst cultural phenomenon - musical theatre - and COMBINED IT WITH A TALENT SHOW.

Any Note Will Do, I think it was called. *checks data* Yep, that's right. [I think there was also another one called Screech! that people were prattling on about]

Even the really macho ultra-straight rugby-watching dudes at the office watched this Joseph thing. Yes, the show did strike a blow against homophobia. Hooray! But please don't expect me to sit through it.

If I had wanted to sit through bad auditions all day, I would've become a casting agent.

When people find out that I didn't watch EVERY SECOND OF IT BECAUSE IT WAS SO AMAZING... they kind of freak out. My in-laws actually regarded me with something approaching pity at dinner on Sunday. "You didn't WATCH IT?" they asked, horrified. I think my brother-in-law actually shed a tear at that point, but I can't be sure.

I think I should just sell my TV set and get it over with; YouTube has all the best bits, anyway. I just can't enjoy bad television because it's ALL, LIKE IRONIC, DUDE. Fuck that! Life is short, and there is actual good music waiting to be heard (and written). Every half hour of shite-arse-fucking bollocks TV you sit through is a half hour you'll never get back.

/derail
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:14 AM on June 13, 2007


Crap, thanks Woodblock, I swear I Googled him - my only excuse is that the wiki page was only created on the 11th, so it isn't showing up in searches yet...

Well, I'm in Japan ... maybe around 16 hours 'ahead' of you ... :-)
posted by woodblock100 at 2:31 AM on June 13, 2007


I watched this for the first time last night, pleasantly surprised by how good some of them were, I particularly liked the very last act Tony.
posted by Fence at 3:12 AM on June 13, 2007


Michigan J. Frog
posted by pracowity at 4:38 AM on June 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Chuckdarwin, if I owned a TV I'd probably agree with you, but I get all my TV through youtube, which doesn't mean I get the best clips all the time, but I'm pretty sure I get better than average.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:56 AM on June 13, 2007


Could there be anything more moving about this story? An underdog no one has heard of that comes out and sings like that. It made my day.
posted by nola at 7:16 AM on June 13, 2007


Could there be anything more moving about this story?

Yes. Head held high, he is hit by a car on the way home from the television studio.

or

Colossal Studios gives him a recording contract but he has to lose weight and get his teeth fixed and sing pop songs. So his wife leaves him. He becomes a drunk. Ends his days singing in the gutter.

or...
posted by pracowity at 7:35 AM on June 13, 2007


And the_bone, have a listen to Jussi Björling's Nessun Dorma (any version from 1930's through 1950's). You won't want to listen to another piece of music for the rest of the year.posted by QuietDesperation

God, that is brilliant, too.
Thank you very much!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 7:54 AM on June 13, 2007


I sent the link to a friend who happens to be a professional opera conductor. Here's what he had to say:

He definitely has a nice voice, but he has NO business singing that aria. He has, at best, a light tenor voice. He messes up the words pretty bad and then really warbles on the penultimate note. The [YouTube] comments are very interesting. There are about 2 people that commented who have any idea what they're talking about. Everyone else is just gut reacting. I think the most unexpected thing is that this cell phone dealer who looks like he has down syndrome can even hold a tune. I give him credit for having the balls to get in front of people and even attempt that aria.

If you really want to hear that tune done by pros check out Pavarotti:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cr5vpHtJIlg

or Corelli:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvDKdnPWdb8


or Del Monaco:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CrJC7l5Pn-k
posted by doctorcurly at 7:57 AM on June 13, 2007


the guy that nearly kills his daughter during a knife throwing act

Reminds me of Les Barker's Cosmo, the Fairly Accurate Knife Thrower and his lovely assistant Doris Elaine Yvonne etc.
posted by raygirvan at 8:19 AM on June 13, 2007




GO STRAIGHT to puke & cry's six-year-old Rainbow singer (3rd comment...).

I clicked in a very idle moment and was totally astonished.
Completely unexpected.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:37 AM on June 13, 2007


DocCurly, your friend and his snotty elitist attitude is one of the reasons why opera isn't more popular today. For example, I've heard Handel's Messiah performed many times, and do I focus on the alto that keeps falling a half beat behind, or the organist that consistently hits a certain wrong note? No, I notice that the audience is truly moved by the performance, and that's what matters.

If Paul's "untrained" and "strained" voice ropes in more music fans to opera, I say good for him - and the downs syndrome comment was uncalled for. Your friend can take his baton and stick it up his ass.
posted by Liosliath at 9:41 AM on June 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


I don't know shit about opera from a technical standpoint, I just know that I like seeing it and I like listening to it, and it's pretty clear that it's comparing apples to 10-course gourmet French meals.

There's a reason that a digusting little trollish douchebag like Pavarotti is so famous. The guy has an absolutely incredible talent. While I am no connoisseur, not by any means, it's pretty clear that this Potts guy fucks it up a few times, and the notes aren't that great. It's a lot like when everyone was shitting their pants over Charlotte Church and how great she was, when it's like, well, kind of "meh."

Still. Anything that gets people interested in opera can not be a bad thing. I wouldn't pay big money to see him, though.
posted by mckenney at 10:03 AM on June 13, 2007


This video illustrates just how shallow and meaningless Puccini's arias are compared to the works of Aerosmith.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:04 AM on June 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Well.....

He needs a lot of training in technique, but he's got feeling and emotion in abundance. I mean, Maria Callas wasn't the most perfect singer either, but she gave it all her heart.

I was happy to see the audience being blown away. Because, yeah, that's what opera does to you.
posted by jokeefe at 11:05 AM on June 13, 2007


I hope this leads to him getting to live at least some of his dream! With some professional training and practice, who knows how much better he can get.

Sheesh, how many people can even come close to that level of singing?
posted by zoogleplex at 11:17 AM on June 13, 2007


Yeah, if you want to be really picky, he was a bit sharp on the high notes and has a few flubs, and wouldn't make it as a "professional" right now, but the guy's got soul and guts and sings so far above the norm that with a bit of work he COULD be a pro.

Maybe not famous, but a working singer, and that's exactly the sort of talent I think this show is looking for. Good on Paul, he deserved that standing ovation.
posted by chimaera at 11:19 AM on June 13, 2007


I know precisely squat about opera; in the map of my musical knowledge lurks a ragged border, along which are inscribed the words "Here Be Snobbery." I also haven't turned on the cable in several years, so I have missed American Idol and its offspring.

This guy was terribly impressive to me. The judges liked it in spite of themselves. One looked as if she was going to leak fluids from all of her seams. The audience was crying in parts. Not to mention, that was, right then, probably one of the high moments of that man's entire life, bringing that kind of reaction out of everyone within earshot. If having an untrained ear means that I will be unable to enjoy that kind of performance, by all means, let it remain untrained.

Screw technical merits, and, more importantly, screw the killjoys who want to bring them up. Nothing but a bunch of erudite griefers in the game of life who want to smash the joy out of both wine and song, hiding behind dissection kits, jealously guarding human art in some ivory tower while muttering, "Pooh pooh, leave this to the professionals, boy."
posted by adipocere at 11:25 AM on June 13, 2007 [6 favorites]


Björling is pretty damned good, but I think that rendition is "better" because it was studio recorded, and hence the balance and mix were better proprotioned than the live performance recording of Pavroatti. The background chorus was nice, too.

Of course with the live performances, you get the interaction with the audience and (maybe the) orchestra which, done right, capture you as well.
posted by lysdexic at 11:37 AM on June 13, 2007


Oh, I can't beleive I forgot Mr. Tanner.
posted by lysdexic at 11:55 AM on June 13, 2007 [1 favorite]


There are many different levels to music. And many different ways to enjoy it. Certainly there is a lot to say about technical skills, that belongs at the table, but there is also the ability to move people and make things enjoyable sans perfect technique. The great jazz musician Cecil Taylor was a big propionate of making his audience work to understand music. He wanted people to grow and come to an application based on knowing what the hell is going on with the music, nothing wrong with that, but it alienates a lot of people who just want to listen and enjoy, nothing wrong with that either.
So, on both sides people need to take deep breaths and stop being such pricks. This fellows performance was good, irregardless of technical skills.
posted by edgeways at 11:59 AM on June 13, 2007



That was nice: They edited it within inches of death but it was still nice.

I did, though, only weep uncontrollably for about six minutes. The first time I heard Corelli's version I was writhing on the floor for eight and a half. So, you know, good *but*.

Thanks fo the post.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:04 PM on June 13, 2007


That's the nice fat opera singer.
/Bugs Bunny
posted by kirkaracha at 12:05 PM on June 13, 2007


I've been to the opea a few times, and here's the thing I remember the most. It was one of the rare places in life where the line to the men's room was longer than the line to the women's room. After waiting for a minute I realized it was because the crowd was so terribly old that it took the men forever to squeeze urine past their collectively swollen prostates.

That, my friend, is a sign of a dying art form.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:41 PM on June 13, 2007 [2 favorites]


Of course with the live performances, you get the interaction with the audience and (maybe the) orchestra which, done right, capture you as well.posted by lysdexic

Pleasantly flabbergasted by your link, lysdexic

Normally can't stand the woman - but, for once...thanks!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 1:02 PM on June 13, 2007


Anyone know what area the baton twirler is from? The accent plus "When I were 3" and "When I were younger" struck me as unusual.
Yorkshire?
posted by Flashman at 1:20 PM on June 13, 2007


Aw man.

Good post.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 1:22 PM on June 13, 2007


All art forms are dying, Bookhouse. Everything in the last century has been nothing but blood coughed out on the floor. In two hundred years, art will be as much a relic as religion has become.

This is not necessarily sad. Otherwise, it wouldn't happen.
posted by AmberV at 1:22 PM on June 13, 2007


Thanks Flashman - I saw an article that said Craig (the baton twirler) is from "Beeston in Leeds."
posted by Liosliath at 1:27 PM on June 13, 2007


Gee. I'm not even English, but I guess I have a pretty good ear for accents.
posted by Flashman at 2:36 PM on June 13, 2007


That was beautiful. Thank you for posting it.
posted by amyms at 4:00 PM on June 13, 2007


Potts clearly needs training, but he's good enough that he won't have trouble getting it -- as Wikipedia confirms:

Paul has appeared on national and local television and radio. . . . He has spent two summers touring Northern Italy training with one of the major opera schools, training under top teachers Mario Melani and Svetlana Sidrova, and has taken part in master classes with Vilma Vernocchi, Katia Ricciarelli and Luciano Pavarotti. He has also performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

With Bath Opera he has sung the roles of Don Basilio (Marriage of Figaro), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni) and the title role in Verdi's Don Carlos, and Turandot as Prince of Persia and Herald.


Russell Watson's story is very similar, but a little purer (I doubt Watson had master classes with Pavarotti before taking "Nessun Dorma" in front of an audience). But Potts is obviously not nearly as marketable. It'll still be interesting to see where he goes.
posted by booksandlibretti at 4:50 PM on June 13, 2007


I suck. I prefer Potts to Del Monaco. So Del Monaco enunciates to within an inch of his life. He also comes across as smug, do-this-for-a-living, whereas Potts is super-passionate because this is his one goddam chance.

But overall, opera, meh.
posted by imperium at 4:54 PM on June 13, 2007


and the downs syndrome comment was uncalled for. Your friend can take his baton and stick it up his ass.

Here, here. :)

Also, a definite +1 to BrotherCaine.
posted by WCityMike at 5:29 PM on June 13, 2007


That, my friend, is a sign of a dying art form.

Interesting perception . . . the perception in the classical music world is that opera is one branch of the classical music world that is attracting new audiences, new composers, and all that. Increasing audiences at a time when (say) symphony orchestras are not necessarily doing that.

(Of course that may not be true universally--it depends much on the local opera house, music director, local audiences, and so forth.)
posted by flug at 7:16 PM on June 13, 2007



But overall, opera, meh.
yeah, it's not as cool as the interwebs, is it?
posted by From Bklyn at 11:53 PM on June 13, 2007


Pah, the opera bloke is nothing. The first time I watched this programe, I saw a small pig playing a synthesizer, the second time, I saw a huge drag queen take a dwarf lady out of a suitcase and work her like a puppet. Proof, if proof be need be, that this is the best thing to hit telly in years.
posted by jack_mo at 5:41 AM on June 14, 2007


The TEETH! The disasters you see from watching British reality TV just ruin any defense against that stereotype.
posted by smackfu at 5:49 AM on June 15, 2007


He won.

Here's a site with videos of his performances on the show.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:03 PM on June 17, 2007


I swear I posted a "wooo" earlier, but I don't see it - is that in violation of some policy?

Anyway, I am very happy with the outcome, and wish Paul much success.

Woo?
posted by Liosliath at 6:38 PM on June 17, 2007


He won.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:49 AM on June 18, 2007



Hey, what's up with that guy?

Did win or what?
posted by From Bklyn at 4:26 AM on June 20, 2007


His U.S. debut.
posted by ericb at 1:15 PM on June 24, 2007


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