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A tenor known for his larger-than-life showmanship, Luciano Pavarotti helped expand the popularity of opera worldwide.
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Born on October 12, 1935, on the outskirts of Modena in north-central Italy, tenor Luciano Pavarotti's voice helped expand the popularity of opera worldwide.
Tenor. Luciano Pavarotti, known for his larger-than-life showmanship that helped expand the popularity of opera, was born on October 12, 1935 on the outskirts of Modena in north-central Italy, the son of a baker and amateur singer. While he spoke fondly of his childhood, the family was crowded into a two-room apartment. And by 1943, World War II had forced the family into a rented single room in the countryside.
Pavarotti wanted to be a soccer star, but found himself enjoying his father's recordings, featuring the popular tenors of the day such as Bjoerling, Tito Schipa, and his favorite, Giuseppe Di Stefano. At around the age of nine he began singing with his father in a small local church choir. He also studied singing with childhood friend Mirella Freni, who later became a star soprano.
At age 20, Pavarotti traveled with a chorus from his hometown to an international music competition in Wales. The group won first place.
Pavarotti abandoned a career in school-teaching to dedicate his life to singing. He won the international competition at the Teatro Reggio Emilia in 1961, making his operatic debut there as Rodolfo in La Boheme on April 29.
Pavarotti made his international debut in 1963 when he stepped in for tenor Giuseppe Di Stefano in the role of 'Rodolfo' at the Royal Opera House in London.
He took part in the La Scala tour of Europe in 1963-64. His American debut in February 1965 in the Miami production of Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor" also launched his legendary partnership with Australian soprano Joan Sutherland.
It was with Sutherland that Pavarotti took London's Covent Garden and the New York Metropolitan Opera by storm in 1972 with a sparkling production of a Donizetti favorite, "La Fille du Regiment".
His voice and performance were very much in the powerful style of the traditional Italian tenor. He became internationally known as a concert performer, and achieved a large popular following through his recordings and television appearances.
He appeared in the film Yes, Giorgio in 1982, and published a volume of autobiography the same year.
His participation in the "Three Tenors" (with Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras) was hugely successful and credited with bringing classical music to the masses at a level never seen before.
Pavarotti also shared the stage with rock stars including U2's lead singer Bono and Eric Clapton, and even pop stars like Celine Dion and the Spice Girls.
He and Bono collected humanitarian aid during the Bosnia war. And Pavarotti worked with the late Diana, Princess of Wales, to raise money to ban land mines worldwide.
In 2005, he was granted the freedom of the city of London and also received a Red Cross Award for Services to Humanity.
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