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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Luciano Pavarotti


Luciano Pavarotti was born on October 12, 1935 in Modena in north-central Italy to Fernando Pavarotti, a baker and amateur tenor, and Adele Venturi, a cigar factory worker. During World War II they lived in the countryside on a farm.

Pavarotti started to listen to his father’s recordings of famous tenors of the day such as Beniamino Gigli, Tito Schipa and Enrico Caruso. At around the age of nine he began singing with his father in a small local church choir.


Pavarotti began singing lessons seriously in 1954 at the age of 19, when Arrigo Pola, a respected teacher and professional tenor in Modena offered to teach him without remuneration

The following year, Pavarotti participated in the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales, as a member of the Corale Rossini voice choir, where they won the first prize.

The first six years of study resulted in only a few recitals, all in small towns and without pay. During this time, Pavarotti held part-time jobs in order to sustain himself – first as an elementary school teacher and then as an insurance salesman.

Pavarotti made his opera début in the role of Rodolfo in La Bohème by Puccini on April 29, 1961 in the town of Reggio Emilia. That same year, he won the prestigious Concorso Internazionale. Soon he was singing in the Vienna State Opera.

Pavarotti made his American début with the Greater Miami Opera in February 1965, singing in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor opposite Australian soprano Joan Sutherland. The tenor scheduled to perform that night had fallen ill and Sutherland recommended the young Pavarotti as he was well acquainted with the role.

With Joan Sutherland in I puritani (1976)

Pavarotti's first appearance as Tonio in Donizetti's La fille du régiment took place at Covent Garden, London on June 2, 1965. His bel canto technique had already astounded audiences across Europe, but it was this London performance that earned the tenor the title, "King of the High Cs".

He made his international recital début at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri in 1973 as part of the college’s Fine Arts Program, now known as the Harriman-Jewell Series. Perspiring due to nerves and a cold, Pavarotti kept a handkerchief in his hand all the way through the concert. The handkerchief was often associated with him after that during his solo performances.

In 1982, Pavarotti starred in the romantic comedy movie Yes, Gorgio. The film was roundly panned by the critics and his role as Giorgio earned him two Razzi nominations for Worst Actor and Worst New Star in 1983.

Pavarotti holds the world record for the most curtain calls in a single performance: he bowed 165 times at the Deutsche Opera in Berlin in February 1988, after appearing in Donizetti's opera L’Elisir D’Amore. The audience’s applause lasted one hour and seven minutes.

Pavarotti performing at the opening of the Constantine Palace in Strelna. By, 

Pavarotti became a worldwide household name in 1990 when he sang Giacomo Puccini's aria, "Nessun Dorma" from Turandot. It was used as the theme tune for the BBC TV coverage of the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy and crossed over into the UK pop charts. The aria remained his trademark song.

This was followed by the hugely successful Three Tenors concert held on the eve of the World Cup final at the ancient Baths of Caracalla in Rome with fellow tenors Plácido Domingo and José Carreras. The live recording of the event became the biggest selling classical album of all time.

The high point of the concert happened when Pavarotti sang a famous part of di Capua's "'O Sole Mio". Domingo and Carreras mimicked him to the delight of the audience; This was one of the most remembered moments in modern opera.

Throughout the 1990s, Pavarotti appeared in many big outdoor concerts, including his free performance in June 1993, at the Great Lawn of New York’s Central Park. More than 500,000 listeners gathered for his performance there, while millions more around the world watched the event on television.

In 1998, Pavarotti became the first opera singer to perform on Saturday Night Live, performing alongside Vanessa L. Williams.

Luciano Pavarotti's standard contract required that there be no noise or "distinct smells" in the vicinity of the artist.

Pavarotti performing on 15 June 2002 at a concert in the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille. By Pirlouiiiit from Marseille

In 1989, the Lyric Opera of Chicago banned Pavarotti from the stage, because of his well-known habit of canceling at the last minute for booked performances. The popular tenor earned the title, ‘The King of Cancellations’ for frequently backing out of performances.


Pavarotti married the singer Adua Veroni in 1961. They were married for 34 years and had three daughters: Lorenza, Cristina, and Giuliana.

On December 13, 2003, Pavarotti married his former personal assistant, Nicoletta Mantovani, with whom he already had a daughter. A second child did not survive, due to complications at the time of birth.

Pavarotti was also known as an equestrian expert. He organized the Pavarotti International, an international show jumping circuit competition and owned an lavish equestrian centre near Modena.

Pavarotti was noted for his charity work on behalf of refugees. He was also a part of the Red Cross Team and served at various other philanthropic organizations.


Pavarotti started his farewell tour in 2004, at the age of 69, performing one last time in old and new locations, after over 40 years on the stage.

During his career, Pavarotti performed a total of 379 times at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. His final performance at the Met was on March 13, 2004 for which he received a 12-minute standing ovation for his role as the painter Mario Cavaradossi in Giacomo Puccini's Tosca.

Pavarotti was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July 2006 and died of the disease on September 6, 2007 at his home in Modena.

During the public viewing of Pavarotti's casket, over 100,000 people attended. Seven hundred guests filled the cathedral in Modena at the actual funeral, including rock star Bono and former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, while several thousand people gathered outside of the cathedral in the square.

He was rumored to have converted to Islam before his death and he took the name Ahmad Hassan.


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