`BIGGEST SUPERSTAR’

first_img“The Maestro fought a long, tough battle against the pancreatic cancer which eventually took his life. In fitting with the approach that characterised his life and work, he remained positive until finally succumbing to the last stages of his illness,” the statement said. For serious fans, the unforced beauty and thrilling urgency of Pavarotti’s voice made him the ideal interpreter of the Italian lyric repertory, especially in the 1960s and ’70s when he achieved stardom. For millions more, his charismatic performances of standards, such as “Nessun dorma” from Puccini’s “Turandot,” came to represent what opera is all about. Instantly recognizable from his charcoal black beard and tuxedo-busting girth, Pavarotti radiated an intangible magic that helped him win hearts in a way Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras – his partners in the Three Tenors concerts – never quite could. “I always admired the God-given glory of his voice – that unmistakable special timbre from the bottom up to the very top of the tenor range,” Domingo said in a statement from Los Angeles. “I also loved his wonderful sense of humor, and on several occasions of our concerts with Jose Carreras – the so-called Three Tenors concerts – we had trouble remembering that we were giving a concert before a paying audience because we had so much fun between ourselves,” he said. The tenor, who seemed equally at ease singing with soprano Joan Sutherland as with the Spice Girls, scoffed at accusations that he was sacrificing his art in favor of commercialism. “The word commercial is exactly what we want,” he said, after appearing in the widely publicized Three Tenors concerts. “We’ve reached 1.5 billion people with opera. If you want to use the word commercial, or something more derogatory, we don’t care. Use whatever you want.” In the annals of that rare and coddled breed, the operatic tenor, it may well be said the 20th century began with Enrico Caruso and ended with Pavarotti. Other tenors – Domingo included – may have drawn more praise from critics for their artistic range and insights, but none could equal the combination of natural talent and personal charm that so endeared him to audiences. “Pavarotti is the biggest superstar of all,” the late New York Times music critic Harold Schonberg once said. “He’s correspondingly more spoiled than anybody else. They think they can get away with anything. Thanks to the glory of his voice, he probably can.” In his heyday, he was known as the “King of the High C’s” for the ease with which he tossed off difficult top notes. In fact it was his ability to hit nine glorious high C’s in quick succession that first turned him into an international superstar singing Tonio’s aria “Ah! Mes amis,” in Donizetti’s “La Fille du Regiment” at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1972. Pavarotti was preparing to leave New York in July 2006 when doctors discovered a malignant pancreatic mass, his manager said at the time. He underwent surgery, and all his remaining 2006 concerts were canceled. Pancreatic cancer is one of the most dangerous forms of the disease, though doctors said the surgery offered improved hopes for survival. “I was a fortunate and happy man,” Pavarotti told Italian daily Corriere della Sera in an interview published about a month after the surgery. “After that, this blow arrived.” “And now I am paying the penalty for this fortune and happiness.” This summer, Pavarotti taught a group of students and worked on a recording of sacred songs, a work expected to be released in early 2008, according to his manager. Pavarotti had three daughters with his first wife: Lorenza, Cristina and Giuliana; and one, Alice, with his second wife. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! By Alessandra Rizzo THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ROME – Luciano Pavarotti, whose vibrant high C’s and ebullient showmanship made him one of the world’s most beloved tenors, died Thursday, his manager told The Associated Press. He was 71. His manager, Terri Robson, told the AP in an e-mailed statement that Pavarotti died at his home in Modena, Italy, at 8 p.m. Pacific time. Pavarotti had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last year and underwent further treatment in August. last_img

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