Israelis who were fortunate enough to have befriended or been acquainted with Luciano Pavarotti joined millions of others around the world over the weekend in mourning the loss of the most widely acclaimed and recognized tenor of the past century.
Zubin Mehta, conductor of the Israel Philharmonic, was a long-time friend of Pavarotti's, and told The Jerusalem Post that the Italian legend's death had been a particularly painful blow for him.
“I've lost a great friend, a friend of many years, but I console myself with the fact that his art will live on,” said Mehta, who is currently in Italy on tour with the Israel Philharmonic.
The philharmonic's principle horn player, Ya'akov Mishori, recounted for the Post Pavarotti's first visit to Israel in 1979. Following a performance with the Philharmonic in Tel Aviv, Pavarotti put on an apron and made a midnight meal of spaghetti Bolognese for his Jewish hosts.
“We were astonished because it was so good,” said Mishori, who added that Pavarotti had expressed a great love for the Holy Land.