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Luciano Pavarotti Biography

Posted On June 20th, 2010 By Celebrity Biographies

Luciano Pavarotti

Luciano Pavarotti

Luciano Pavarotti was a famous Italian tenor, who also ventured into popular music, finally becoming one of the most successful operatic tenors of all times. He is regarded as the best male singing voice after Enrico Caruso. Pavarotti is distinguished for combining quality of sound production and accuracy of pitch along with unique musicality.

Early Years

Luciano was born on October 12, 1935 in the north-central city of Italy called Modena. He fondly remembers his childhood, but the family was short of money. His parents owned a small two-room apartment where Pavarotti lived with his sister. His father worked as a baker and his mother was employed in a cigar factory. Between 1939 and 1945, the family had to depart the city in 1943 due to the Second World War. For the next year, they had to accommodate themselves in a single room from a farmer in the adjacent countryside.

As a kid, Luciano’s first musical influences were the recordings of his father, which featured the well-known tenors of those times. At the age of 9, he started singing in a small church choir with his father. He attended a few voice lessons during those times; however he later concluded that they weren’t important. He lived a normal childhood and was largely interested in sports, soccer in particular. After graduating from Schola Magistrale, he faced the predicament of choosing a career for himself.

Initially, Pavarotti was fascinated to become a professional soccer player, however his mother convinced him to train to become a teacher. He took classes in an elementary school for about two years, but he always had an inclination towards music. Knowing the risk involved, his father was pretty reluctant while giving his consent. The family decided that Pavarotti would be given a free room as well as a board until he ages 30. After this age, if he doesn’t succeed as a singer, he would be required to earn his living through any means available.

The Start of His Career

Pavarotti started serious studying at the age of 19, in the year 1954, with a prominent teacher and an admired tenor called Arrigo Pola, who also resided in Modena. Pola was well aware of financial problems of the family and hence he offered to give free lessons to Pavarotti. During this time, Pavarotti met a young girl called Adua Veroni and they were married in 1961.

Two and a half years later, Pola moved to Japan and Pavarotti then became an apprentice of Ettore Campogalliani. Campogalliani was also giving lessons to Pavarotti’s childhood friend called Mirella Freni, now known as soprano (the highest singing female voice). In order to sustain himself, Pavarotti held a number of part-time jobs. He first served as an elementary teacher but then when he failed at this job, he became an insurance salesman.

The initial six years of study led to nothing important but a few recitals in small towns, all of it without getting paid. During a concert in Ferrara, Italy, a small lump (nodule) developed on his vocal chords and led to the disaster in the concert. At this point, he decided to give up on singing; however his voice suddenly improved after this incident. Due to some unknown reason, the nodule disappeared and he found the voice that he always wanted to achieve.

The Journey to Success

In 1961, Pavarotti won the first prize in the Achille Peri Competition. Despite a successful debut, he had to strategize certain things, so as to get a few more contracts. Alesandro Ziliani, a well-known agent who attended Pavarotti’s concerts, offered to represent him after hearing him as an audience. In 1963, he replaced Giuseppe di Stefano and performed in a concert at London. This concert at Covent Garden was a huge success and his voice matched well with the production. 19th century Italian opera forms a major part of Pavarotti’s collection, especially Donizetti, Puccini and Verdi. He was extremely comfortable while singing their music and Pavarotti is known to sing fewer recitals since he considered them to be more exhausting than opera.

Not many opera singers make good actors, however Pavarotti spent a lot of time around the mid 1980’s and polished his acting skills, along with consistent singing. He starred in a commercial film called “Yes, Giorgio” in the year 1972. Later on, his solo album based on the Neapolitan songs called “O Sole Mio” outsold all records by any other classical singer. All through the eighties, he soared in popularity and become a leading figure in the world of opera. He broadened his appeal with televised performances and famous concerts. Pavarotti reached out to millions of viewers with his solo concerts or opera performances. He started showing great potential as a recording artist and recorded a number of Italian folk songs and classical operas. By the time he staged his first ever ‘The Three Tenors’ concert in Rome, he was already popular.

Criticisms

Pavarotti experienced his share of rejection and criticism as well. He was banned from contracts with the ‘Lyric Opera’ in the year 1989 since he canceled a series of performances due to ill health. He was also sued by BBC (British Broadcasting Company) since he sold the lip-synced concert to the company. During a performance at La Scala, he was booed while performing ‘Don Carlo’.

Death

During an international farewell tour in July 2006, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Pavarotti fought against the implications of the condition and went through a major abdominal surgery, so as to gain fitness for his final musical commitments. However, he died in Modena at the age of 71 on September 6, 2007. Pavarotti is survived by his wife Adua (whom he was married to for 34 years) and his second wife Nicoletta Mantovani. He had four daughters and the fortune of 300 million euros was amicably split between them. Tributes were paid to the legend and there was a concert organized by performers trained by Pavarotti in the Avery Fisher Hall of New York City.


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