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Opera great Pavarotti dead at 71
« on: Sep 6th, 2007, 7:36am »
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Opera great Pavarotti dead at 71
5 hours ago  
ROME (AFP) Opera legend Luciano Pavarotti, whose glorious tenor voice, showmanship and crossover celebrity turned him into a global superstar, died Thursday at his home in Italy at the age of 71.
Hailed by many as the greatest tenor of his generation, Pavarotti passed away during the night at his villa near the northern city of Modena after a long battle with pancreatic cancer.
"His condition progressively worsened up to this morning," said Antonio Frassoldati, one of the star's team of doctors. "He was always totally conscious of the situation, he always sought to fight the disease ... and he was very calm."
The funeral will be held at Modena Cathedral on Saturday, said the city's mayor Giorgio Pighi.
Pavarotti -- known in his prime for the clarity of his voice and ability to hit high Cs with ease -- broke into the opera world when he won a competition in 1961.
He went on to perform across Europe before crossing the Atlantic in 1965 for a production of Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor" in Miami, co-starring famed Australian soprano Joan Sutherland as Lucia.
It was with Sutherland in February 1972 that Pavarotti took London's Covent Garden and the New York Metropolitan Opera by storm with a sparkling production of a Donizetti favourite, "La Fille du Regiment".
"Luciano Pavarotti was one of the finest singers of our time," the Royal Opera House in London said in a statement.
"He had a unique ability to touch people with the emotional and brilliant quality of his voice. He was a man with the common touch and the most extraordinary gift. He will be truly missed by millions," the statement said.
To the shock of some classical music purists, the larger than life singer extended his appeal far beyond the operatic world, collaborating with pop musicians like Sting and U2's Bono.
In 1991, a crowd of 150,000, including the Prince and Princess of Wales, braved the rain and cold in London's Hyde Park to hear him sing.
The previous year Pavarotti hit an even wider audience when his performance of the aria "Nessun Dorma" from Puccini's "Turandot" was chosen as the theme music for football's 1990 World Cup finals, held in his native Italy.
He sung Nessun Dorma during his last major performance, at the opening of the Winter Olympics in Turin in February 2006.
Among his best-known initiatives in recent years were his appearances with two other leading singers, Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo, known as the "Three Tenors", and the annual "Pavarotti and Friends" concerts in Modena.
Carreras mourned the loss of a "great artist," friend, cook and formidable card player.
"The best memories are the ones in intimacy," the Spanish tenor said. "He was a very good friend for his friends and a great poker player."
As news of his death spread, the Opera House in Vienna raised a black flag of mourning and other stars from the world of opera and beyond were quick to pay tribute.
Sutherland told BBC radio that there was "no question" that Pavarotti's unique voice ranked him among opera's greats.
"It was incredible to stand next to it and sing along with it," the 80-year-old Australian star, nicknamed "La Stupenda", said.
"The quality of the sound was quite different -- you knew immediately it was Luciano singing."
She added that she had seen Pavarotti recently and he was "not the same person at all".
Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli said: "There were tenors and then there was Pavarotti," adding: "It is thanks to Luciano Pavarotti that the culture of opera spread to new generations."
Pavarotti's success also attracted the attention of the society columns.  
He left his wife Adua in 1996 after 35 years of marriage and three grown-up daughters for his secretary Nicoletta Mantovani, whom he married in 2003, and with whom he had one child.
Since undergoing surgery for cancer in 2006, Pavarotti had at least five rounds of chemotherapy. He was hospitalised again on August 8 with a fever, and was discharged more than two weeks later after a battery of tests.
This summer, during a ceremony in honour of the singer on the island of Ischia near Naples, Mantovani said Pavarotti had been feeling well and was preparing a new album.
Early Wednesday, Pavarotti had expressed his pride at being the first to receive a new "cultural excellence" prize in Italy.
He said he was "full of emotion and gratitude ... because it gives me the opportunity to continue to celebrate the magic of a life spent in the service of art."
The death of Pavarotti is the second to rock the opera world in recent months. Acclaimed American soprano Beverly Sills died of cancer at her New York home in July. She was 78.
Japanese conductor Seiji Ozawa, music director of the Vienna State Opera, said he was "shocked and very sad" at the loss of a great friend and singer.
"His tenor was so distinguished that I could immediately recognise it whenever I heard his songs at places like restaurants," Ozawa said.
Tributes also poured in from the political world, with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi mourning the loss of "a very great voice of the musical world and of Italy."
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Pavarotti had "seduced the entire world" and defended the singer's decision to sometimes stray far from the traditional operatic repertoire.
"Via the marriage of styles, this great tenor brought ever greater audiences over to classical music," Sarkozy said.
sources: http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5g5ZHTDAt7CARlvzf1ldk_lR2F5nw
so sad to see him pass at such a young age; for these days anyways.
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Re: Opera great Pavarotti dead at 71
« Reply #1 on: Sep 6th, 2007, 10:00am »
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That's so sad...he had a fabulous voice!
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Re: Opera great Pavarotti dead at 71
« Reply #2 on: Sep 6th, 2007, 10:40am »
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This is very sad. Cry They played him on the radio this morning and his voice was so beautiful it brought a tear to my eye.
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