Luciano Pavarotti

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Luciano Pavarotti (October 12, 1935 - September 6, 2007) was one of the world's greatest tenor singers. After modest beginnings in Modena, Italy Pavarotti went on to become one of the most revered singers in the world.

Early years

Pavarotti was born at the height of the depression years, to a local baker, in Modena, Italy.

His early years were typical of many boys at that time. As he grew he expressed a strong interest in football and once said he hoped to pursue it as a career. Fate however had other things in store.

Another of Pavarotti's passions from an early stage was music. His father was a tenor singer in the local church choir and actively encouraged his son to consider pursuing a career in music.

By his late teens, Pavarotti was a member of the Modena Rossini choir which competed for and won first prize in a 1955 international singing competition in Wales.

In 1961 Pavarotti made his professional debut singing Rodolfo in La Boheme.


His thirtieth year proved critical to Pavarotti's future success.

His first performance at La Scala was followed by a tour of Australia with already legendary opera singer Joan Sutherland and her husband, conductor Richard Bonynge.

Sutherland and Bonynge have said they saw something special in Pavarotti and Sutherland took special interest in using this tour to impart her technical knowledge to the still developing tenor.

Growing reputation

By 1968 Pavarotti's reputation was sufficient to see him debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

On September 24, 1979, Pavarotti appeared on the cover of Time magazine under the powerful headline: "Bravo Pavarotti! Opera's Golden Tenor".

Career highlights

One of Pavarotti's career goals was to take opera and music to the masses.

In 1990 he achieved perhaps his most significant breakthrough in that regard.

His performance of Nessun Dorma from Puccini's Turandot at the 1990 football World Cup - held in Rome, Italy - saw millions of fans of soccer also become fans of opera music--at least that particular performance and aria. In fact the aria became something of an anthem associated with Pavarotti. The performance of Nessun Dorma with Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras conducted by Zubin Mehta in July of 1990 on the eve of the World Cup final led to the semi-regular appearances of the three singers under the name The Three Tenors.


Pavarotti was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2006, and died on September 6, 2007.

His funeral was held two days later in his hometown of Modena, where he was later buried alongside family members.

The global stature of the singer by this time was clear as the funeral service was carried live in its entirety on news networks such as BBC World and CNN.

Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi spoke at the funeral service.

In one of the many obituaries on Pavarotti, the New York Times described him as a singer "whose ringing, pristine sound set a standard for operatic tenors of the postwar era."[1]


  1. Bernard Holland with Allan Kozinn. Luciano Pavarotti, Charismatic Tenor Who Scaled Pop Heights, Dies at 71. New York Times. September 7, 2007. Retrieved: September 8, 2007