Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Luciano Pavarotti was born in Modena, Italy. His father, a gifted amateur singer, baked bread in Mussolini's army. Pavarotti made his operatic debut on April 29, 1961, as Rodolfo in La Bohème, at the opera house in Reggio Emilia. This is his signature role. His American debut came in February 1965, in Lucia di Lammermoor with Joan Sutherland in Miami.
His major breakthrough, however, came on February 17, 1972, in a production of Donizetti's 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 17 curtain calls.
Pavarotti became a household name through frequent television performances, such Rodolfo in the first Live from the Met telecast in March of 1977, which attracted one of the largest audiences ever for a televised opera. He has many Grammys and platinum and gold recordings to his credit.
In the 1990s, Pavarotti became famous for his well-attended outdoor concerts. His televised concert in London's Hyde Park was the first concert in the history of the park featuring classical music and drew a record attendance of some 150,000 people. In June 1993, more than 500,000 listeners gathered for his 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. The most famous of these, however, have been The Three Tenors concerts, bringing Pavarotti together with Plácido Domingo (once his rival) and Jose Carreras. The recordings and videos of these concerts have outsold those by Elvis Presley and the Rolling Stones.
He received Kennedy Center Honors in 2001. More recently he married his assistant, who bore him twins, one of whom (Alice) survives. Many do not view his ex-wife and three daughters with favor, as they reportedly diverted funds from Pavarotti's may charity concerts for their personal use. He was a close friend to the late 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, as he felt he could not sing well "with his grief in his throat". He made his farewell tour in 2004 at the age of 69.
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