Is there anyone on the planet who can listen to him sing "Nessun Dorma" and not get goosebumps? The aria is from Puccini's Turandot. In English, "Nessun Dorma" translates to "None Shall Sleep." Listening to this version with Conductor James Levine in Paris, you understand why people say Pavarotti (born this day in 1935) owns this song. Yes, he left us in 2007, but the word owns still applies.
Someday we're going to get over referring to people like the amazing Alice Childress as a black novelist, playwright and actress and just say she was a novelist, playwright, and actress. It bears remembering, though, that she was born on this day in 1912, an extraordinarily difficult time for African-Americans in general. That she was black and accomplished so much has to be seen as part of the equation of identity. Race aside, however, Alice Childress was a great spirit. Period. In 1944, she made her Broadway debut as an actress in Anna Lucasta, the longest running "black" play of its time. She wrote at least ten plays and four novels. She formed her own production company and was scholar in residence at Harvard University from 1966 to 1968. Not bad for a kid from Charleston, South Carolina, born 50 years before the Civil Rights Movement. Here's a clip from her play, Trouble in Mind.
Listen to this performance of "My Funny Valentine," and you will see why this man with a horn (born this day in 1952) has had four number one albums on Billboard's Jazz Chart and won the 2013 Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album.