In June 1998 Luciano Pavarotti and some of his "Friends" put on an all-star gala concert in his home town of Modena, Italy, for his War Child charity, specifically to benefit orphans of the civil war-ravaged African nation of Liberia. The resulting CD, also available on a video directed by Spike Lee, presents an international cast of pop stars joining the great kerchief-waver in a series of high-octane duets and ensembles.
It is all good fun and if, at times, a little campy, it is equally often quite exhilarating just to hear all that energy flowing on-stage and through the house. It is also interesting to hear American singers like Vanessa Williams and Stevie Wonder get into some real European-style pop numbers, which have a heightened, almost operatic sense of melodrama. Rather than revealing an opera star out of his element, Pavarotti and his Friends show that there is some common ground between them after all.