Luciano Pavarotti

Photo: Pirlouiiiit / CC BY-SA 2.0

Luciano Pavarotti Biography

Luciano Pavarotti (October 12, 1935 – September 6, 2007) was an Italian operatic tenor who also crossed over into popular music, eventually becoming one of the most commercially successful tenors of all time. Luciano was born in Modena, Italy. Grew up in a small family and he was the only male child.

Pavarotti was surrounded by his sisters and his father, a baker and opera lover, during his childhood. After leaving school, he studied at the Scuola Magistrale, with the knowledge acquired in the school and the teachings of his father, he used to teach singing lessons with Arrigo Polo and Ettore Campogalliani. Then, he deepened his studies by studying an opera degree to devote himself to teaching.

In 1961, Luciano began to perform musical interventions in venues such as the Reggio Emilia in La Bohème. The power in his voice caused admiration in the audience and quickly his voice became popular. One of his best concerts was in Amsterdam in 1963, he sang Edgardo (Lucia di Lammermoor), a tragic drama divided into three acts inspired by the novel The Bride of Lammermoor. A year later, he sang Mozart’s Idamante in Glyndebourne and made his debut in Covent Garden, London’s popular neighborhood. His performance was so good that he repeated it in Miami, and then the Sutherland-Williams company hired him to tour Australia.

On his return, he sang for the first time at the famous opera house located in Milan, where he performed the Verdi’s Requiem to celebrate the centenary of Toscanini. The theater that had a capacity of 2030 people was totally full that night. This has been one of the most significant functions in Pavarotti’s career. Later, he returned to the United States, this time to San Francisco performing the interpretation of Rodolfo, also, sang the roles of Nemorino, Gustavus, Calaf, and Enzo (La Gioconda de Ponchielli).

It is difficult to describe the most glorious moments of Pavarotti, but without a doubt, one of them was Nemorino’s interpretation of L’Elisir d’Amore, which made him one of the greatest contemporary tenors and the highest paid in history.

The fame of Pavarotti increased with the television transmission in 1977 live from the Metropolitan Opera House, the hearing of this transmission was devastating, being the televised opera with the greatest rating in history.

After this event, he sang in different places around the world, playing roles as Alfredo, Elvino (La Sonnambula), Tonio (The Daughter of the Regiment) Gustavus III (Un Ballo in Maschera), Riccardo, Cavaradossi, Rodolfo (Luisa Miller), Radamés and Nemorino (L’elisir d’amore), the Duke (Rigoletto), Tebaldo (I Capuleti e I Montecchi de Bellini) and Des Grieux (Manon de Massenet). Also, sang Manrico (Il Trovatore), Fernando, (The Favorite of Donizetti), Ernani, Idomeneo, Arturo (I Puritani), Radamés, Rodolfo (Luisa Miller, 1991) and the Italian Singer (The Knight of the Rose), these are not half of all the interpretations that Luciano made, but they are a small sample of his luminous, resonant and unmistakable voice and of the important artistic work that he developed.

He toured the world performing popular recitals with characters such as the Spaniards José Carreras and Plácido Domingo. His most successful concerts were presented in Rome in 1991 and the one in Los Angeles in 1994 named “The Three Tenors”. By that time, the level of their sales was impressive, so, his discography made him the most popular tenor of the second half of the twentieth century and a reference to that time and the present.

On March 13, 2004, after his last intervention at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, he would decide to end his career as a singer. In that presentation, he played Mario Cavaradossi in the opera Tosca, by Giacomo Puccini. Many hypotheses affirm that the death in 2003 of one of his newborn twins with his former secretary Nicoletta was one of the reasons for the end of his career. Luciano had a secret relationship with her while he was married to Adua. After he divorced from Adua, Luciano married Nicoletta in a civil ceremony held at the Modena theater.

Months later, in order to farewell to his loyal public, he undertook a tour of various parts of the world called the Goodbye Tour, consisting of 40 concerts. However, Pavarotti did not leave the opera at all, in February 2006 he performed the Nessun Dorma, from Turandot, by Puccini, at the opening ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics at the Turin Olympic Stadium. This was the last time the world heard the tremendous voice of Luciano Pavarotti.

His legacy is immense, he was a man who helped the opera to become more attractive.

He was awarded a Grammy for Best Classical Singer (1991) and years later received the Freedom Award from the City of London and the Red Cross for Services to Humanity, both in 2005. Another of his achievements was his appearance in the Guinness Record Book for the longest ovation in the world; an ovation that lasted an hour and seven minutes that the Berlin Opera gave him in 1988.

Finally, his voice died down when he was 71 years old. Luciano Pavarotti died in Modena, on September 6, 2007, due to pancreatic cancer that attacked him for several months. His funeral was in the Montale Rangote cemetery, buried with his parents and his newborn son Ricardo.


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