Luciano Pavarotti Dead at 71

Opera great Luciano Pavarotti has died after a long bout with cancer.

Luciano Pavarotti Has Died at Age 71 - PIC

Luciano Pavarotti, opera’s biggest superstar of the late 20th century, died Thursday. He was 71. He was the son of a singing baker and became the king of the high C’s.

Pavarotti, who had been diagnosed last year with pancreatic cancer and underwent treatment last month, died at his home in his native Modena at 5 a.m., his manager told The Associated Press in an e-mailed statement.

His wife, Nicoletta, four daughters and sister were among family and friends at his side, manager Terri Robson said. “The Maestro fought a long, tough battle against the pancreatic cancer,” Robson said. “In fitting with the approach that characterised his life and work, he remained positive until finally succumbing to the last stages of his illness.”

Pavarotti’s charismatic personna and ebullient showmanship — but most of all his creamy and powerful voice — made him the most beloved and celebrated tenor since the great Caruso and one of the few opera singers to win crossover fame as a popular superstar.

“He has been, of course, one of the greatest tenors ever, one of the most important singers in the history of opera,” colleague Jose Carreras told reporters in Germany. “We all hoped for a miracle … but unfortunately that was not possible, and now we have to regret that we lost a wonderful singer and a great man.”

For serious fans, the unforced beauty and thrilling urgency of Pavarotti’s voice made him the ideal interpreter of the Italian lyric repertory, especially in the 1960s and ’70s when he first achieved stardom. For millions more, his thrilling performances of standards like “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s “Turandot” came to represent what opera is all about. “Nessun Dorma” turned out to be Pavarotti’s last aria, sung at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Turin in February 2006. His last full-scale concert was at Taipei in December 2005, and his farewell to opera was in Puccini’s “Tosca” at New York’s Metropolitan in March 2004.

While I’m by no means an opera fan, I admire greatness. Pavarotti certainly represented that. He’ll be missed.

Allie has more at Gone Hollywood, including some videos of Pavarotti performances.

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James Joyner
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Comments

  1. Kent says:

    I have a CD of The Three Tenors (Carreras, Domingo, and Pavarotti) that illustrates just how good Pavarotti was. There’s no comparison of the other two with Pavarotti. I don’t know if we will ever hear his like again.