Only a conductor as self-confident as Sir Georg Solti would risk being overshadowed at his own farewell festivities by inviting Luciano Pavarotti to share the limelight.
But even Solti may have gotten more than he bargained for at Friday night's concert performance of Verdi's "Otello" by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.The Hungarian-born conductor, stepping down as music director of the CSO after 22 years, had to compete for attention with not one, but two Pavarottis - Pavarotti the performer, and Pavarotti the patient.
The Italian tenor was apparently recovering from a severe cold. So he brought with him to the stage a veritable pharmacy of potions, lozenges and sprays that he imbibed conspicuously throughout the opera's four acts. Whenever he wasn't singing, Pavarotti would sink exhausted into his chair.