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A week or so ago, I scanned the TV guide for something to watch that was non-violent. I saw that a PBS station was broadcasting an Aretha Franklin program. “Oh, good,” I thought, “This will be enjoyable.” As most people know, Aretha Franklin (African American; 1942-2018) was a successful gospel, R&B, blues and soul music singer, as well as a songwriter and pianist. Many, many, many people referred to her as “The Queen of Soul.”
At the end of the program while the credits were rolling, Aretha was shown singing the aria Nessun Dorma from the opera Turandot by Giocomo Puccini (Italian; opera composer; 1858-1924).
I had heard this aria before but could not remember when or where. Tears filled my eyes as I listened to it, and I wondered why.
I decided to research Aretha’s performance of this aria. I discovered that she had performed this aria at the 1998 Grammy Awards when her friend Luciano Pavorotti (Italian, opera singer; 1935-2007) was too ill to perform. Pavarotti had “popularized” this aria when he performed it at the 1990 World Cup.
Members of the audience were seen wiping their eyes in response to Aretha’s breathtaking performance of the aria.
Aretha’s stepping in for Pavarotti reminded me of the saying: “A friend in need is a friend indeed.”
*Italian for “A Friend Indeed”