Luciano Pavarotti

Italian opera singer Luciano Pavarotti, who died aged 71 in 2007, was one of the most successful tenors in history with peerless commercial success and popularity that crossed into mainstream culture. Known for a uniquely spectacular voice that earned him the nickname King of the High Cs, he performed in all the major opera halls and concert venues around the world. He formed the Three Tenors operatic trio with José Carreras and Placido Domingo and after they performed at the 1994 World Cup Tournament in Rome in 1994 their recordings became bestsellers. Pavarotti's rendition of 'Nessun Dorma' from Giacomo Puccini's 'Turandot' became his trademark song and it went to number two on the UK's Official Singles Chart. He also appeared with pop stars such as Elton John, Eric Clapton, Celine Dion and the Spice Girls and did a great deal of work for charity. Born in northern Italy, the son of a baker who had a good tenor voice, Pavarotti sang and with his father in a church choir and began to study music in his late teens. He was a member of the Corale Rossini when the male voice choir won top prize at the 1955 International Eisteddfod in Wales. He began to sing in other countries and in 1963 he toured Australia with Joan Sutherland. His American debut came in 1965 with the Greater Miami Opera in a performance with Sutherland in Donizetti's 'Lucia di Lammermoor'. Conductor Herbert von Karajan chose him for a revival of 'La Boheme' at Las Scala directed by Franco Zeffirelli and he returned to Milan after another successful tour of Australia. Appearances at the Salzburg Festival and the Vienna State Opera followed along with performances at New York's Metropolitan Opera, several of which were seen on television. 'The Three Tenors in Concert' with Carreras and Domingo topped Billboard's Classical Albums Chart in 1994 and other number one hits include 'Christmas: Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti' (1993), 'Pavarotti & Friends for the Children of Bosnia' (1996), 'The Three Tenors: Paris' (1998), 'The Best C' (2007) and '75th Birthday: Limited Edition' (2010). Scores of other albums also charted in America and the UK and he won a great many Grammy Award nominations with six wins including the Legend Award in 1998. When his health began to deteriorate later in life, Pavarotti made a widespread farewell tour that concluded with a performance of 'Tosca' at the New York Met in 2004 where he reportedly received ten curtain calls and a 15-minute standing ovation. He died from pancreatic cancer in Italy three years later.

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Stations Featuring Luciano Pavarotti

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