Herbert Breslin, the hard-driving music publicist and manager who helped to mastermind Luciano Pavarotti's career, died on Thursday at age 87.
Breslin became the tenor's manager in 1967 and the two went on to work together for 36 years. Under Breslin's guidance, Pavarotti became a fixture of opera houses and later, stadiums and arenas, particularly as a member of The Three Tenors. Breslin was a controversial figure in the classical music field, known for his colorful language and shrewd business acumen.
Breslin's firm, Herbert Breslin Public Relations, also represented Plácido Domingo, and he even worked for both Pavarotti and Domingo simultaneously for one stretch. Among his other clients was the pianist Alicia de Larrocha.
In 2002 Pavarotti split with Breslin, which was followed two years later by the publication of a book co-written with Washington Post classical music critic Anne Midgette called The King and I. The biography is a candid take on the singer's career including his many quirks and foibles.
The news of Breslin's death at a hotel in Nice, France was first reported by Midgette. She shares her memories of their collaboration in a blog post.
In October 2004, Breslin and Midgette were guests on WNYC's Soundcheck. Of his partnership with Pavarotti the former said, "Luciano and I, we did everything in sync. We had plans, we had objectives, we made decisions, and we did them together. We were like a team. I might propose an idea and most of the time he'd say yes—which was not how it was later on—but we were pretty much in sync."
Below is the full audio of that interview: