Thursday, September 6, 2007

Tenor Luciano Pavarotti dead at 71

One of the great Tenors of all time has passed on. May he now sings with the Angels up in heaven. Thanks for the lovely songs...

(CNN) -- Famed opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti, who appeared on stage with singers as varied as opera star Dame Joan Sutherland, U2's Bono and Liza Minnelli, died Thursday after suffering from pancreatic cancer, his manager Terri Robson said in a statement. He was 71.

"The great tenor, Luciano Pavarotti, died today at 5:00 a.m. at his home in Modena, the city of his birth," according to Robson.
"The Maestro fought a long, tough battle against the pancreatic cancer which eventually took his life. In fitting with the approach that characterized his life and work, he remained positive until finally succumbing to the last stages of his illness."

According to Robson, his wife, Nicoletta; his daughters, Lorenza, Cristina, Giuliana and Alice; his sister, Gabriela; and other relatives and friends were at his side when he died.
The portly singer retired from staged opera in 2004, but was on a "farewell tour" of concerts when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2006 and underwent emergency surgery to remove the tumor.

Although the remaining concerts of his tour were canceled, his management said that he hoped to resume the tour in 2007.
But in early August, Pavarotti was hospitalized in
Modena with a fever and released 17 days later after undergoing diagnostic tests.

Pavarotti is survived by his wife, Nicoletta Mantovani, and a daughter, Alice, along with three grown daughters by his first wife, Adua Veroni, whom he divorced in 2000, and a granddaughter.

Much as the star power of Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov revived widespread interest in classical ballet in the 1970s and 1980s, Pavarotti's beaming charisma and bravura style captured the attention of the late-20th-century audience for opera.

Widely considered the greatest tenor of his time, Pavarotti began his life modestly in Modena, the son of Fernando, a baker and amateur singer, and Adele, who worked at the local tobacco factory.
"I dreamed to become a singer when I was four and I hear my father singing in the church with a beautiful tenor voice," he told CNN in a 1991 interview. "And I say to myself, well, let's try to do something."

The young Pavarotti -- who played soccer with his town's junior team -- joined the church choir with his father and traveled with him to Wales, where the singing group won first prize at the Llangollen International singing competition.

Although the experience left Pavarotti enthralled with singing, he graduated from the local teaching institute in 1955 and taught elementary school for two years, then worked as an insurance salesman. He continued his vocal studies, however, working first with with Arrigo Pola and then with Ettore Campogalliani.

Then, in 1961, Pavarotti won the prestigious Concorso Internazionale and made his operatic debut at the Reggio Emilia Theater as Rodolfo in Giacomo Puccini's "La Boheme." His fame spread throughout Italy and then throughout the European continent as he made his international debut in Giuseppe Verdi's "La Traviata" in Belgrade.

When Dame Joan Sutherland brought him onstage with her during a performance of Gaetano Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor" with the Greater Miami Opera in 1965, Pavarotti began his American career. He debuted at New York's Metropolitan Opera House three years later, and eventually marked 379 performances there, including his final opera, Puccini's "Tosca" in 2004, in which he performed as the painter Mario Cavaradossi.

In between Pavarotti sold millions of records and raised millions of dollars for charity through benefit concerts, often sharing the stage with pop stars as well as other opera singers.
Of his recordings, 1990's "The Essential Pavarotti" was the first classical album to reach No. 1 on Britain's pop charts, where it remained for 5 weeks. 1994's "The Three Tenors in Concert," with Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras, remains the best selling classical album of all time.

Pavarotti joined with Domingo and Carreras in 1990, and although critics complained that Pavarotti's vocal skills were waning, the trio performed together for 14 years.

Among his charities were a 1995 "Concert for Bosnia" that raised $8.5 million and other concerts that raised $3.3 million for refugees from Afghanistan and $1 million for refugees from Kosovo.
In artistic terms, Pavarotti brought to the stage a voice neatly suited to the traditional bel canto, or "beautiful singing" style, essential to 17th-century Italian opera. As much about intensity as pitch, bel canto focuses the voice, concentrating the sound with both outstanding warmth and agility.

So demanding is this work even of the best singers that Pavarotti in concert recital could be seen rising to the balls of his feet during the most challenging passages. A long, white handkerchief always hung from one hand as he sang, his eyebrows arched high in the effort, forming an expression seemingly of surprise at his own success.

From his small beginnings, Pavarotti rose to great heights, performing in front of 500,000 people in New York's Central Park -- a concert seen by millions on television -- and before another 300,000 at Paris' Eiffel Tower.

He won countless awards and honors -- including five Grammys -- and was named United Nations Messenger for Peace by then-Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He launched an international competition, The Pavarotti International Voice Competition, in 1982. He even founded a teaching facility for young singers in his home town.

His signature aria, Puccini's "Nessun Dorma" from "Turandot," was chosen as the theme music for the 1990 soccer World Cup, hosted by Italy. He also performed the aria at the opening ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.

The great singer was also known as an equestrian expert, organizing one of the international show jumping circuit's most important competitions, the Pavarotti International, in Modena. Coinciding with that event, Pavarotti also staged an annual charity concert, Pavarotti and Friends.

When cancer finally stopped Pavarotti from singing, it was only the second interruption of his career.
"I think I just stop for one year when from a kid I become a man and the voice is changing," he said in 1991. "I was an alto and become a tenor and that is the only time I think I remember to have stopped singing. Otherwise I have sung all my life."

Amid reports this week that his condition was worsening, it was announced in Rome on Tuesday (Sept. 4) by Italy's cultural minister, Francesco Rotelli, Pavarotti is receiving a newly created prize for excellence in cultural achievement.

The New York Times' Alan Riding pointed out in a February article that ironically, the modern-day popularity of operatic work has prompted the building of new opera houses in many major centers including Copenhagen, Tokyo and -- coming next year, Beijing -- at a time when the repertoire remains rooted in centuries-old work and the costs of production make tickets prohibitive for most younger would-be audience members.

For opera to survive today, Riding wrote, it needs not only new music but also "exciting young singers." Pavarotti was that singer, in the right place and the right time for his generation.

CNN's Porter Anderson contributed to this report.


ruby ahmad said...

Hi Nightwing,

My goodness I never knew one day I'll be chatting with a superhero from Gotham City. Life is a mystery indeed. So I take it you blog in between your chivalrous duties..ha ha. Real glad to have made your acquaintance. Now I know who to ask for help..he he. Anyway Nightwing tq for hopping over my blog.

Yes it is a loss to the world with Pavarotti's death.


nyonyapenang said...

Hi Nightwing,

I sorry to hear of the passing of the great tenor, Pavarotti. This BIG gentleman was invited to perform in Malaysia many years ago to a very appreciative audience.
May his soul rest in peace.

Thanks you so much for popping by my blog and please feel free to do so again, anytime.

You have a great day.

U.Lee said...

Hi Nightwing, thanks for dropping by my place. Nice of you.
By the way, just out of curiousity, what is 'Nightwings'? I only know 'chicken wings', ha ha.
Sounds kind of nightly mysterious, huh?
Re this opera singer passing away, regret Opera has never gone into my mixed diet of favourites Country&Western as well Oldies from the 50's to 80's.
But I make a hasty exit where Rap or whatever music I can't understand.
Guess its more age talking.
Won't be long before I return to nursery rhymes, ha ha.
You keep well, UL.
PS, can see you are a young well mannered gentleman. Keep it up.

U.Lee said...

Hi Nightwings, thanks for popping over to my place. Nice of you. Can see you are a well mannered gentleman. Good for you.
By the way, just out of curiousity, what is "Nightwings"? I only know 'chicken wings', ha ha. Your callsign sure sounds nightly mysterious.
Re the passing away of an opera icon, I regret opera has never gone into my diet of Country & Western as well oldies from the 50's to 90's.
But I sure beat a hasty retreat at Rap and songs I can't understand.
Love piano and melody guitar especially.
You have a nice day, UL.

Puteri said...

May he rest in peace.

Nightwing you have been tagged!

Nightwing said...

Ruby Ahmad, Thanks for stopping by..Any help i can render will be a pleasure..Hehe i am the Sarawak version of Nightwing.

Nyonyapenang, ya indeed a great lost to the music and opera world. While i am posting this i am listening to Il Divo...i can bet some of them are influence by the great tenor. You have a great weekend too.

Puteri, thanks for stopping by..will go over to ur site to check on the tag...hehe.

Uncle Lee, thanks for poping in. Nightwing is one of the heros of Gotham City (Ruby Ahmad spot on). He was the first Robin to Batman.

When he became a teenager, he joined the teen titans as Nightwing, he tried to get out of the shadow of Batman. Hehe...i am a Batman fan...thats why i choose the call sign and identity.

May be Il Divo group might mixed their songs with country/oldie style. It could happend.

Thanks Uncle Lee for the compliment, much appreciated. Still learning the lesson of life.

J.T. said...

Thanks for the short explanation about Nightwing. I wondered about your name too. When I saw Gotham City then I figured you could be a Batman fan.

As for the great tenor, his passing is a definite loss to the world. I liked it when he sang as part of the Three Tenors. That was awesome.

Nightwing said...

Hi there JT, hehe..Ya, Batman fan.

A real loss indeed but at least he can now make music up in heaven.

He really uses God's given talent in a big way...and also gave back to society..charities and stuff.