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Luciano Pavarotti



Luciano Pavarotti Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI
(12 October 1935 – 6 September 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. He was one of ''"The Three Tenors"'' and became well-known for his televised concerts and media appearances. Pavarotti was also noted for his charity work on behalf of refugees and the Red Cross, amongst others.

Pavarotti began his professional career as a tenor in 1961 in Italy. He sang in opera houses in the Netherlands, Vienna, London, Ankara, Budapest and Barcelona. The young tenor earned valuable experience and recognition while touring Australia at the invitation of soprano Joan Sutherland in 1965. He made his US debut in Miami soon afterwards, also on Sutherland's recommendation. His position as a leading lyric tenor was consolidated in the years between 1966 and 1972, during which time he first appeared at Milan's La Scala and other major European houses. In 1968, he debuted at New York City's Metropolitan Opera as Rudolfo in Puccini's ''La Bohème''. At the Met in 1972, in the role of Tonio in Donizetti ''"La Fille du Régiment"'' he earned the title ''"King of the high Cs"'' when he sang the aria ''"Ah mes amis... pour mon âme"''. He gained worldwide fame for the brilliance and beauty of his tone, especially into the upper register. He was at his best in bel canto operas, pre-Aida Verdi roles and Puccini works such as ''La Bohème'', ''Tosca'' and ''Madama Butterfly''. The late 1970s and 1980s saw Pavarotti continue to make significant appearances in the world's foremost opera houses.

Celebrity beyond the world of opera came to Pavarotti at the 1990 World Cup in Italy with performances of Puccini's ''Nessun Dorma'', from ''Turandot'', and as one of "The Three Tenors" in their famed first concert held on the eve of the tournament's final match. He sang on that occasion with fellow star tenors Plácido Domingo and José Carreras, bringing opera highlights to a wider audience. Appearances in advertisements and with pop icons in concerts furthered his international celebrity.

His final performance in an opera was at the Metropolitan in March 2004. The 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, saw him on stage for the last time, where Pavarotti performed ''Nessun dorma'', with the crowd serving as the aria's chorus, and he received a thunderous standing ovation. On Thursday 6 September 2007, he died at home in Modena from pancreatic cancer, aged 71.

He made numerous recordings of complete operas and individual arias, and established himself as one of the finest tenors of the 20th century.

Biography



Earlier life and musical training


Luciano Pavarotti was born in 1935 on the outskirts of Modena in Northern Italy, the son of Fernando Pavarotti, a baker and amateur tenor, and Adele Venturi, a cigar factory worker. Although he spoke fondly of his childhood, the family had little money; its four members were crowded into a two-room apartment. According to Pavarotti, his father had a fine tenor voice but rejected the possibility of a singing career because of nervousness. World War II forced the family out of the city in 1943. For the following year they rented a single room from a farmer in the neighbouring countryside, where the young Pavarotti developed an interest in farming.

After abandoning the dream of becoming a professional football goalkeeper, Pavarotti spent seven years in vocal training. Pavarotti's earliest musical influences were his father's recordings, most of them featuring the popular tenors of the day - Beniamino Gigli, Giovanni Martinelli, Tito Schipa and Enrico Caruso. Pavarotti's favourite tenor and idol was Giuseppe Di Stefano. He was also deeply influenced by Mario Lanza, saying, ''"In my teens I used to go to Mario Lanza movies and then come home and imitate him in the mirror"''. At around the age of nine he began singing with his father in a small local church choir.

After what appears to have been a normal childhood with a typical interest in sports — in Pavarotti's case football above all, he graduated from the Scuola Magistrale and faced the dilemma of a career choice. He was interested in pursuing a career as a professional football goalkeeper, but his mother convinced him to train as a teacher. He subsequently taught in an elementary school for two years but finally allowed his interest in music to win out. Recognising the risk involved, his father gave his consent only reluctantly.

Pavarotti began the serious study of music in 1954 at the age of 19 with Arrigo Pola, a respected teacher and professional tenor in Modena who offered to teach him without remuneration. Not until he began these studies was Pavarotti aware that he had perfect pitch.

In 1955, he experienced his first singing success when he was a member of the Corale Rossini, a male voice choir from Modena that also included his father, which won first prize at the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales. He later said that this was the most important experience of his life, and that it inspired him to become a professional singer. At about this time Pavarotti first met Adua Veroni. They married in 1961.

When his teacher Arrigo Pola moved to Japan, Pavarotti became a student of Ettore Campogalliani, who at that time was also teaching Pavarotti's childhood friend, Mirella Freni, whose mother worked with Luciano's mother in the cigar factory. Like Pavarotti, Freni was destined to operatic greatness; they were to share the stage many times and make memorable recordings together.

During his years of musical study, Pavarotti held part time jobs in order to sustain himself - first as an elementary school teacher and then as an insurance salesman. The first six years of study resulted in only a few recitals, all in small towns and without pay. When a nodule developed on his vocal cords, causing a ''"disastrous"'' concert in Ferrara, he decided to give up singing. Pavarotti attributed his immediate improvement to the psychological release connected with this decision. Whatever the reason, the nodule not only disappeared but, as he related in his autobiography, ''"Everything I had learned came together with my natural voice to make the sound I had been struggling so hard to achieve"''.

Career


1960s–1970s


Pavarotti began his career as a tenor in smaller regional Italian opera houses, making his debut as Rodolfo in ''La Bohème'' at the Teatro Municipale in Reggio Emilia in April 1961.

Very early in his career, on 23 February, 1963, he debuted at the Vienna State Opera with the same role. In March and April 1963 Vienna saw Pavarotti again as Rodolfo and as Duca di Mantova in ''Rigoletto''. The same year saw his Royal Opera House debut, where he replaced an indisposed Giuseppe di Stefano as Rodolfo.

While generally successful, Pavarotti's early roles did not immediately propel him into the stardom that he would later enjoy. An early coup involved his connection with Joan Sutherland (and her conductor husband, Richard Bonynge), who in 1963 had sought a young tenor taller than herself to take along on her tour to Australia.
At well over 6 feet tall and with his commanding physical presence, Pavarotti proved ideal. The two sang some forty performances over two months, and Pavarotti later credited Sutherland for the breathing technique that would sustain him over his career.

Pavarotti made his American début with the Greater Miami Opera in February 1965, singing in Donizetti's ''Lucia di Lammermoor'' opposite Joan Sutherland on the stage of the Miami-Dade County Auditorium in Miami. The tenor scheduled to perform that night became ill with no understudy. As Sutherland was traveling with him on tour, she recommended the young Pavarotti as he was well acquainted with the role.

Shortly after, on 28 April, Pavarotti made his La Scala debut in the revival of the famous Franco Zeffirelli production of ''La Bohème,'' with his childhood friend Mirella Freni singing Mimi and Herbert von Karajan conducting. Karajan had requested the singer's engagement. After an extended Australian tour, he returned to La Scala, where he added Tebaldo from ''I Capuleti e i Montecchi'' to his repertoire on 26 March, 1966, with Giacomo Aragall as Romeo. His first appearance as Tonio in Donizetti's ''La Fille du Régiment'' took place at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden on 2 June of that year. It was his performances of this role that would earn him the title of "King of the High Cs".

He scored another major triumph in Rome on 20 November, 1969 when he sang in ''I Lombardi'' opposite Renata Scotto. This was recorded on a private label and widely distributed, as were various recordings of his ''I Capuleti e i Montecchi,'' usually with Aragall. Early commercial recordings included a recital of Donizetti (the aria from ''Don Sebastiano'' was particularly highly regarded) and Verdi arias, as well as a complete ''L'Elisir d'Amore'' with Sutherland.

His major breakthrough in the United States came on 17 February, 1972, in a production of ''La Fille du Régiment'' at New York's Metropolitan Opera, in which he drove the crowd into a frenzy with his nine effortless high Cs in the signature aria. He achieved a record seventeen curtain calls.

Pavarotti sang his international recital début at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, on 1 February, 1973, as part of the college's Fine Arts Program, now known as the [http://www.harriman-jewell.org/pavarotti.htm Harriman-Jewell Series]. Perspiring due to nerves and a lingering cold, the tenor clutched a handkerchief throughout the début. The prop became a signature part of his solo performances.

He began to give frequent television performances, starting with his performances as Rodolfo (''La Bohème'') in the first Live from the Met telecast in March 1977, which attracted one of the largest audiences ever for a televised opera. He won many Grammy awards and platinum and gold discs for his performances. In addition to the previously listed titles, his ''La Favorita'' with Fiorenza Cossotto and his ''I Puritani'' (1975) with Sutherland stand out.

In 1976, Pavarotti debuted at the Salzburg Festival, appearing in a solo recital on 31 July, accompanied by pianist Leone Magiera. Pavarotti returned to the festival in 1978 with a recital and as the Italian singer in ''Der Rosenkavalier,'' in 1983 with ''Idomeneo,'' and both in 1985 and 1988 with solo recitals.

In 1977, he was profiled in a cover story in the weekly magazine, ''Time''. That same year saw Pavarotti's return to the Vienna State Opera after an absence of fourteen years. With Herbert von Karajan conducting, Pavarotti sang Manrico in ''Il Trovatore.'' In 1978, he appeared in a solo recital on ''Live from Lincoln Center.''

1980s–1990s


At the beginning of the 1980s, he set up The Pavarotti International Voice Competition for young singers, performing with the winners in 1982 in excerpts of ''La Bohème'' and ''L'Elisir d'Amore''. The second competition, in 1986, staged excerpts of ''La Bohème'' and ''Un Ballo in Maschera''. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of his career, he brought the winners of the competition to Italy for gala performances of ''La Bohème'' in Modena and Genoa, and then to China where they staged performances of ''La Bohème'' in Beijing (Peking). To conclude the visit, Pavarotti performed the first ever concert in the Great Hall of the People before 10,000 people, receiving a standing ovation for nine effortless high Cs. The third competition in 1989 again staged performances of ''L'Elisir d'Amore'' and ''Un ballo in Maschera''. The winners of the fifth competition accompanied Pavarotti in performances in Philadelphia in 1997.

In the mid-1980s, Pavarotti returned to two opera houses that had provided him with important breakthroughs, the Vienna State Opera and La Scala. Vienna saw Pavarotti as Rodolfo in ''La Bohème'' with Carlos Kleiber conducting and again Mirella Freni was Mimi; as Nemorino in ''L'Elisir d'Amore''; as Radames in ''Aïda'' conducted by Lorin Maazel; as Rodolfo in ''Luisa Miller''; and as Gustavo in ''Un Ballo in Maschera'' conducted by Claudio Abbado. In 1996, Pavarotti appeared for the last time at the Staatsoper in ''Andrea Chenier''.

In 1985, Pavarotti sang Radames at La Scala opposite Maria Chiara in a Luca Ronconi production conducted by Maazel, recorded on video. His performance of the aria ''"Celeste Aïda"'' received a two-minute ovation on the opening night. He was reunited with Mirella Freni for the San Francisco Opera production of ''La Bohème'' in 1988, also recorded on video. In 1992, La Scala saw Pavarotti in a new Zeffirelli production of ''Don Carlo'', conducted by Riccardo Muti. Pavarotti's performance was heavily criticized by some observers and booed by parts of the audience.

Pavarotti became even better known throughout the world in 1990 when his rendition of Giacomo Puccini's aria, ''"Nessun Dorma"'' from ''Turandot'' was taken as the theme song of BBC's TV coverage of the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy. The aria achieved pop status and 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 and conductor Zubin Mehta, which became the biggest selling classical record of all time. A highlight of the concert, in which Pavarotti hammed up a famous portion of di Capua's "O Sole Mio" and was mimicked by Domingo and Carreras to the delight of the audience, became one of the most memorable moments in contemporary operatic history. Throughout the 1990s, Pavarotti appeared in many well-attended outdoor concerts, including his televised concert in London's Hyde Park, which drew a record attendance of 150,000. In June 1993, more than 500,000 listeners gathered for his free performance on the Great Lawn of New York's Central Park, while millions more around the world watched on television. The following September, in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, he sang for an estimated crowd of 300,000. Following on from the original 1990 concert, the Three Tenors concerts were held during the Football World Cups: in Los Angeles in 1994, in Paris in 1998, and in Yokohama in 2002.

In 1995, Pavarotti's friends, the singer Lara Saint Paul (as Lara Cariaggi) and her husband showman Pier Quinto Cariaggi, who had produced and organised Pavarotti's 1990 FIFA World Cup Celebration Concert at the PalaTrussardi in Milan, produced and wrote the television documentary ''The Best is Yet to Come'', an extensive biography about the life of Pavarotti. Lara Saint Paul was the interviewer for the documentary with Pavarotti, who spoke candidly about his life and career.

Pavarotti's rise to stardom was not without occasional difficulties, however. He earned a reputation as "The King of Cancellations" by frequently backing out of performances, and his unreliable nature led to poor relationships with some opera houses. This was brought into focus in 1989 when Ardis Krainik of the Lyric Opera of Chicago severed the house's 15-year relationship with the tenor.Herbert H. Breslin, ''The King and I: The Uncensored Tale of Luciano Pavarotti's Rise to Fame by His Manager, Friend and Sometime Adversary,'' New York: Doubleday Publishing, 2004 ISBN 978-0-385-50972-5 ISBN 0-385-50972-3 Over an eight-year period, Pavarotti had cancelled 26 out of 41 scheduled appearances at the Lyric, and the decisive move by Krainik to ban him for life was well-noted throughout the opera world, after the performer walked away from a season premiere less than two weeks before rehearsals began, saying pain from a sciatic nerve required two months of treatment.

On 12 December, 1998, he became the first (and, to date, only) opera singer to perform on Saturday Night Live, singing alongside Vanessa L. Williams. He also sang with U2, in the band's 1995 song ''"Miss Sarajevo,"'' and with Mercedes Sosa in a big concert at the Boca Juniors arena La Bombonera in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1999.

In 1998, Pavarotti was presented with the Grammy Legend Award. Given only on special occasions, as of 2007 it has only been awarded 15 times since its first presentation in 1990.

2000s



In 2004, one of Pavarotti's former managers, Herbert Breslin, published a book, ''The King & I''. Seen by many as bitter and sensationalistic, it is critical of the singer's acting (in opera), his inability to read music well and learn parts, and of his personal conduct, although acknowledging their mutual success. In an interview in 2005 with Jeremy Paxman on the BBC, Pavarotti rejected the allegation that he could not read music, although acknowledged he did not read orchestral scores.

He received an enormous number of awards and honours, including Kennedy Center Honors in 2001. He also holds two Guinness World Records: one for receiving the most curtain calls (165) and another for the best-selling classical album (''In Concert'' by The Three Tenors). (The latter record is thus shared by fellow tenors, Plácido Domingo and José Carreras.)

In late 2003, he released his final compilation - and his first and only "crossover" album, ''Ti Adoro.'' Most of the 13 songs were written and produced by the Michele Centonze who had already helped produce the "Pavarotti and Friends" concerts between 1998 and 2000. The tenor described the album as a wedding gift to Nicoletta Mantovani.

On 13 December, 2003 he married his former personal assistant, Nicoletta Mantovani, with whom he already had a daughter, Alice. Pavarotti began his farewell tour in 2004, at the age of 69, performing one last time in old and new locations, after more than four decades on the stage. Pavarotti gave his last performance in an opera at the New York Metropolitan Opera on 13 March, 2004, for which he received a long standing ovation for his role as the painter Mario Cavaradossi in Giacomo Puccini's ''Tosca.'' On 1 December, 2004, he announced a 40-city farewell tour. Pavarotti and his manager, Terri Robson, commissioned impressario Harvey Goldsmith to produce the Worldwide Farewell Tour. His last full-scale performance was at the end of a two-month Australasian tour in Taiwan, in December 2005.

In March 2005, Pavarotti underwent neck surgery to repair two vertebrae.

In early 2006, he underwent further back surgery and contracted an infection while in the hospital in New York, forcing cancellation of concerts in the U.S., Canada and the UK.

On 10 February, 2006, Pavarotti sang "Nessun Dorma" at the 2006 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in Turin, Italy at his final performance. In the last act of the opening ceremony, his performance received the longest and loudest ovation of the night from the international crowd. Leone Magiera, who directed the performance, revealed in his 2008 memoirs, ''Pavarotti Visto da Vicino'', that the performance was prerecorded weeks earlier. "The orchestra pretended to play for the audience, I pretended to conduct and Luciano pretended to sing. The effect was wonderful," he wrote. Pavarotti's manager, Terri Robson, said that the tenor had turned the Winter Olympic Committee's invitation down several times because it would have been impossible to sing late at night in the sub-zero conditions of Turin in February. The committee eventually persuaded him to take part by pre-recording the song.

Death



While undertaking an international "farewell tour", Pavarotti was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in July 2006. The tenor fought back against the implications of this diagnosis, undergoing major abdominal surgery and making plans for the resumption and conclusion of his singing commitments. On Thursday 6 September 2007, he died at home in Modena from pancreatic cancer, aged 71. Within hours of his death his manager, Terri Robson, noted in an e-mail statement, "The Maestro fought a long, tough battle against the pancreatic cancer which eventually took his life. In fitting with the approach that characterized his life and work, he remained positive until finally succumbing to the last stages of his illness".

According to several reports, just before he died, the singer had received both the sacraments of Penance and Anointing of the Sick from the Roman Catholic Church.

Pavarotti's funeral was held in Modena Cathedral. Romano Prodi and Kofi Annan attended. The Frecce Tricolori, the aerobatic demonstration team of the Italian Air Force, flew overhead, leaving green-white-red smoke trails. After a funeral procession through the centre of Modena, Pavarotti's coffin was taken the final ten kilometres to Montale Rangone, a village part of Castelnuovo Rangone, and interred in his parents' grave. The funeral, in its entirety, was also telecast live on CNN. The Vienna State Opera and the Salzburg Festival Hall flew black flags in mourning. Tributes were published by many opera houses, such as London's Royal Opera House. The Italian football giant Juventus F.C., of which Pavarotti was a lifelong fan, was represented at the funeral and posted a farewell message on its website which said: ''"Ciao Luciano, black-and-white heart"'' referring to the team's famous stripes when they play on their home ground. A tribute concert featuring many performers trained by Pavarotti himself was held on February 14, 2008 at New York City's Avery Fisher Hall.

Surviving family


Pavarotti is survived by four daughters: three, Lorenza, Cristina and Giuliana, with first wife Adua, to whom he was married for 34 years; and one, Alice, with second wife Nicoletta Mantovani. At the time of his death, he had one granddaughter.

Settlement of estate


His first will was opened the day after his death and a second will, within the same month of September. His fortune was estimated to be roughly between 20 million and 120 million United States dollars, with about $20 million in the U.S., and included an estate outside his native Modena, a villa in Pesaro, a flat in Monte Carlo and three flats in New York City.

Pavarotti's widow's lawyers Giorgio Bernini, Anna Maria Bernini and manager Terri Robson announced on 30 June, 2008 that his family amicably settled his estate – 300 million euros ($ 474.2 million, including $15 million in U.S. assets). Pavarotti drafted two wills before his death: one divided his assets by Italian law, giving half to his second wife, Nicoletta Mantovani, and half to his four daughters; the second gave his U.S. holdings to Mantovani. The judge confirmed the compromise by the end of July. However, a Pesaro public prosecutor, Massimo di Patria, is investigating allegations that Pavarotti was not of sound mind when he signed the will.

Pavarotti's estate has been settled ''"fairly"'', a lawyer for Pavarotti's widow, Nicoletta Mantovani (above, with Pavarotti), said in statements after reports of a dispute between Ms. Mantovani and his three daughters from his first marriage.

Shortly after his death, on what would have been Pavarotti's 72nd birthday, Google exhibited a logo using a cartoon of Pavarotti as the letter "L" in its name.

''The Ultimate Collection'' CD of 20 well-known arias associated with Pavarotti was released shortly after his death and it was created as a tribute to Pavarotti entitled ''"Pavarotti Forever"''.

Here is a recording excerpt illustrating the nine high Cs for which Pavarotti was famous:




Quote



Pavarotti himself summarised his life as follows:

''"Penso che una vita per la musica sia una vita spesa bene ed è a questo che mi sono dedicato."''

English translation: ''"I think a life for music is a well-spent one, and that's what I have dedicated mine to."''

Other work



Film and television


Pavarotti's one venture into film, a romantic comedy called ''Yes, Giorgio'' (1982), was roundly panned by the critics. He can be seen to better advantage in Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's adaptation of ''Rigoletto'' for television, released that same year, or in his more than 20 live opera performances taped for television between 1978 and 1994, most of them with the Metropolitan Opera, and most available on DVD.

Humanitarianism


Pavarotti annually hosted the ''"Pavarotti and Friends"'' charity concerts in his home town of Modena in Italy, joining with singers from all parts of the music industry, including Andrea Bocelli, Bryan Adams, Céline Dion, Mariah Carey, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Sting, Bono, Queen, Deep Purple, Sheryl Crow, the Spice Girls, and Jon Bon Jovi, to raise money for several UN causes. Concerts were held for War Child, and victims of war and civil unrest in Bosnia, Guatemala, Kosovo and Iraq. After the war in Bosnia, he financed and established the Pavarotti Music Centre in the southern city of Mostar to offer Bosnia's artists the opportunity to develop their skills. For these contributions, the city of Sarajevo named him an honorary citizen in 2006.

He performed at benefit concerts to raise money for victims of tragedies such as the Spitak earthquake that killed 25,000 people in northern Armenia in December 1988, and sang Gounod's Ave Maria with legendary French pop music star and ethnic Armenian Charles Aznavour.

He was a close friend of Diana, Princess of Wales. They raised money for the elimination of land mines worldwide. He was invited to sing at her funeral service, but declined to sing, as he felt he could not sing well ''"with his grief in his throat"''. Nonetheless, he attended the service.

In 1998, he was appointed the United Nations Messenger of Peace, using his fame to raise awareness of UN issues, including the Millennium Development Goals, HIV/AIDS, child rights, urban slums and poverty.

In 1999, Pavarotti performed a charity benefit concert in Beirut, to mark Lebanon's reemergence on the world stage after a brutal 15 year civil war. The largest concert held in Beirut since the end of the war, it was attended by 20,000 people who travelled from countries as distant as Saudi Arabia and Bulgaria.

In 2001, Pavarotti received the Nansen Medal from the UN High Commission for Refugees for his efforts raising money on behalf of refugees worldwide. Through benefit concerts and volunteer work, he has raised more than any other individual.

In 1978 Pavarotti was initiated as an honorary member of the University of Miami's Beta Tau Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, a fraternity dedicated to the advancement of music in America. Other honours he received include the ''"Freedom of London Award"'' and The Red Cross ''"Award for Services to Humanity"'', for his work in raising money for that organization, and the 1998 ''"MusiCares Person of the Year"'', given to humanitarian heroes by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.

Luciano_Pavarotti
Source: Wikipedia