Farewell to Pavarotti

Ledendary Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti, who brought opera to the masses, succumbs to pancreatic cancer aged 71 at his home in Modena; survived by wife and 4-yr-old daughter.

Modena, Italy: Luciano Pavarotti, legendary Italian opera star hailed by many as the greatest tenor of his generation, died on Thursday after a long battle with cancer, his manager Terri Robson said.

“The great tenor Luciano Pavarotti died on Wednesday, 11 pm EDT at his home in Modena,” Robson said in a statement. He was 71.

“The maestro fought a long, tough battle against pancreatic cancer which eventually took his life.
“In fitting with the approach that characterised his life and work, he remained positive until finally succumbing to the last stages of his illness.”

The rotund, black-bearded tenor known as “Big Luciano” helped bring opera to the masses and performed to vast stadium audiences round the world. He shot to fame with a stand-in appearance at London’s Covent Garden in 1963 and soon had critics gushing about his voluminous voice.

His last public singing performance was at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Turin in February 2006, singing Puccini’s aria “Nessun Dorma”.

In July last year, Pavarotti underwent surgery in New York for pancreatic cancer and retreated to his villa in Modena. He had to cancel his first planned public reappearance a few months later.
Pavarotti was taken to a hospital in Modena last month and treated for more than two weeks. He was released on August 25, and spent his final hours at home with family and friends nearby, the statement said.

“He remained optimistic and confident that he would overcome the disease and had been determined to return to the stage to complete his Worldwide Farewell Tour,” the statement said.

He is survived by his wife, Nicoletta, their 4-year-old daughter, Alice, as well as three daughters from Pavarotti’s first marriage.

The news saddened Italians, particularly those in Modena, Pavarotti’s hometown. Police stood watch outside Pavarotti’s villa as television crews gathered.

“For Modena, it is a enormous loss. Modena is known to the world thanks to Pavarotti,” said Antonio Dibiccari, 39.

Pavarotti with wife Nicoletta Mantovani and their 11-month-old daughter Alice in 2003

Key dates in Luciano Pavarotti’s life
• October 12, 1935: Pavarotti is born in Modena, Italy.

• 1961: Wins a local competition and with it a debut as Rodolfo in Puccini’s “La Boheme”, in Reggio Emilia city. Marries Adua Veroni, with whom he has three daughters.

• 1963: First UK appearance at Covent Garden in London, where he stands in for tenor Giuseppe Di Stefano.

• 1972: Records nine high Cs at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House.

• 1990: Performs at the closing ceremony of the World Cup Football in Italy with fellow tenors Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras.

• 1991: Serenades Princess Diana at London’s Hyde Park in one of the biggest music events at the park.

• 2001: Appears in a court in Italy on charges of 13.3 million of taxes.

• 2003: Marries his 33-year-old former personal assistant Nicoletta Mantovani.

• 2006: His final vocal performance at the opening ceremony of the 20th Winter Olympics in Turin.

• 8 August, 2007: Admitted to hospital in Modena with fever, but stays on to have more tests related to pancreatic cancer. Discharged on August 25.

• 6 September, 2007: Opera legend dies aged 71.


There were tenors, and then there was Pavarotti - Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli

Pavarotti was the best known classical singer in the world, the best incarnation of the great popular tenor since Enrico Caruso. His artistic qualities, his warmth and his charisma seduced the whole world. - French President Nicolas Sarkozy