Opera Singer. He was considered one of the greatest tenors in his lifetime, and his voice was well known by the general public. His voice, popularity and fame would be compared with Enrico Caruso and Mario Lanza, both famous tenors in their own times. He was best known for his aria 'Nessun Dorma' from the opera "Turandot," with which he would often end many of his concerts. Born in Modena, he learned to sing from his father, who brought a love of music to his son, and he soon showed that he had talent, singing in the local choir and winning first prize in an international choir competition in Llangollen, Wales, United Kingdom. In 1954, he decided to become a professional opera singer, and studied under the tutelage of profession tenor Arrio Pola. During the next several years, he supported himself as a part-time elementary school teacher and insurance salesman while attempting to break into professional opera. In 1961, he married singer Adua Veroni, with whom he would have three daughters: Giliana, Lorenza, and Christina; their marriage would end in divorce in 2000. Pavarotti made his opera debut in April 1961, in the role of 'Rodolfo' in the opera "La Boheme", and in 1963, he made his international debut in the same role at the Royal Opera House in London, England. Also in 1963, he began a partnership with soprano singer Joan Sutherland, considered one of the most famous singing partnerships in opera history. She encouraged him to tour the United States in 1965, which gave him both experience and recognition. By the mid-1970s, he had become well known worldwide, noted for his beauty of tone and perfect pitch, especially in the upper register, with his high C becoming one of his trademarks. He earned the sobriquet "King of the High Cs" when in 1966, he became the first tenor in opera history to hit all nine high C notes in the aria 'Quel Destin' in the opera "The Daughter of the Regiment," reprising his success again in 1972 at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. During the next decade, his popularity steadily rose, and his name became a household word by the 1990s. In July 1990, he teamed with popular tenors Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras to form "The Three Tenors," frequently singing together over the next ten years and introducing opera to an even wider public audience, performing in such places as sports stadiums and on television. In 2003, he married his long time assistant, Nicoletta Mantovani, and they had a daughter, Alice. Pavarotti was also well known for his humanitarian work, founding the "Pavarotti and Friends" annual charity concerts in Modena, Italy, and earning millions of dollars for worthy United Nations causes. His last appearance was at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, at which he sang during the closing ceremony. After emergency surgery for pancreatic cancer in July 2006, He died of kidney failure due to the cancer at his home in Modena, Italy, and was laid to rest next to his parents in the family tomb near Modena; an estimated 50,000 people attended the funeral.
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson