Aretha Franklin’s granddaughter Victorie Franklin shared a video of her grandmother singing Nessun Dorma, which translates as “None shall sleep.” In 1998, at the 40th Grammys, Aretha sang this aria from the final act of Puccini’s opera, Turandot when opera superstar Luciano Pavarotti was too ill to do so.
The video was recorded on March 17, 2018, as the Queen of Soul was battling pancreatic cancer. It was a few days shy of her 76th birthday and a few months before she made her transition. Aretha did what she was called to do until she couldn’t do it anymore. Talk about living a purpose driven life! Few people will ever know what it means to love your gifts so much that using them is more of a source of comfort than work. I’m comforted knowing that a woman whose voice comforted so many took some comfort in it herself.
Victorie, thank you for sharing this touching video. It imparts so many lessons about deciding how we want to live our lives up to the very end and demonstrates the immense love between grandmothers and their grandchildren. Her grandmother blows her a kiss while singing the aria! “I have many memories of me coming into her home and she would be playing the piano and singing,” Victorie wrote on Twitter. “Words can’t describe the pain I’m feeling, but God is telling me that she is at peace. Today we lost an icon, a legend, but today I lost my grandma,” she continued. “I love u and imma make u proud.”
Another version of Aretha doing Nessun Dorma:
(Photo credit- Don Hunstein/Sony Archives)