The World's Greatest Tenors - Luciano Pavarotti
The World's Greatest Tenors
The World’s Greatest Tenors – Luciano Pavarotti
My love affair with Luciano Pavarotti’s voice began shortly after the 1990 World Cup in Italy. I got a call from a friend telling me to turn on the public broadcasting channel that night and listen to a concert performed by three tenors on the eve of the tournament’s final match.
The tenors were Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras and of course Luciano Pavarotti. All three of them were great tenors, but Pavarotti was the best. The station was giving the tapes away to anyone who donated a minimum amount of money so I made a donation.
Not too long afterward, Luciano Pavarotti came to Detroit to perform a concert at Joe Louis Arena. I had a friend who had connections with the Metropolitan Opera traveling company and she got me seats immediately to the right side of the VIP section less than 50 feet away from Pavarotti himself.
The concert was magnificent. In the next few years I got another opportunity to hear him in concert and finally my wife and I saw all three tenors when they performed at old Tiger stadium in Detroit. I would definitely rate him among the top two or three tenors of the century.
Luciano Pavarotti was born in 1935 in Modena, Italy. His father was a baker and an amateur tenor. As a boy he played soccer and dreamed of becoming a goalkeeper. Like many great singers, he began singing in the local church.
Pavarotti began serious musical training at the age of 18. Among his early idols were Enrico Caruso, Beniamino Gigli, and Giuseppe Di Stefano. He also watched Mario Lanza movies and tried to imitate him when he got home. The following video is of Pavarotti singing
Una furtiva lagrima,
which has been recorded by every great tenor since Caruso.
Una furtiva lagrima
Pavarotti made his debut in Italy in 1961 as Rodolfo in LaBoheme. He first appeared in America in 1965 but did not attract a lot of attention until February 17, 1972 when he amazed the audience at the Met with nine effortless high Cs in a production of
La Fille du Regiment.
La Fille du Regiment
Pavarotti pioneered live Metropolitan Opera television broadcasts with his performance as Rodolfo in LaBoheme in March of 1977. In the early 1980s he set up The Pavarotti International Voice Competition for young singers performing with the winners in 1982. As was mentioned previously, the 1990 three tenors concert performed at the ancient Baths of Caracalla in Rome was recorded live and became the largest selling classical record of all time. The following is a video performance of
O Sole Mio
by the three tenors in which the other two mimic Pavaroti’s singing.
O Sole Mio
In 1990, Pavarotti became an international pop star when his rendition of Puccini’s Nessun Dorma from Turandot was used as their theme song by the BBC in their coverage of the World Cup in Italy. His recording soon became # 2 on the UK singles chart, the first time ever for a classical recording. This aria contains two of the highest notes in a tenors range – a B4 followed by an A4.
This song immediately became Pavarotti’s signature song and he used it to close almost all of his concerts after that. Pavarotti’s last stage appearance was at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy where he performed Nessun Dorma for the last time. On September 6, 2007, Pavarotti died of pancreatic cancer. It is only fitting, then that we conclude this hub with a video of Pavarotti performing Nessun Dorma from Turnandot.
THE WORLD'S GREATEST TENORS
To visit my complete list of the world’s best tenors along with limited biographical information and links to their individual Hubs, go to:
Who are The Three Tenors?
What are the Baths of Caracalla?
More of the World's Greatest Tenors
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