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The BBC's David Willey
"This concert marks certainly what's the beginning of the end of a magnificent career"
 real 28k

Monday, 30 April, 2001, 09:35 GMT 10:35 UK
Pavarotti hits anniversary high note
Luciano Pavarotti and singer Angela Gheorgiu
Luciano Pavarotti with singer Angela Gheorgiu
Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti has celebrated the 40th anniversary of his career with a grand concert featuring some of the world's greatest opera singers.

Forty years is a long time and I celebrated in the best way

Luciano Pavarotti
A select audience of opera lovers packed the opera house in Modena, Pavarotti's home city, to hear arias from Verdi and Puccini.

Pavarotti was joined on stage by Three Tenors colleague Jose Carreras, but the third member of the trio, Placido Domingo, cancelled at the last moment in order to undergo surgery.

The anniversary event also marked the launch of Pavarotti's new website, which will broadcast the concert.

All the singers - including Roberto Servile, Carmela Remigio and Angela Gheorghiu - joined Pavarotti on stage for a final chorus from Verdi's La Traviata where all the guests are drinking a toast.

"Forty years is a long time and I celebrated in the best way," said Pavarotti after the concert. "I am really very, very grateful. They showed me how much they loved me and how much they respect me."


Pavarotti is expected to return to Modena on 29 May for a concert to raise money for Afghan refugees living in Pakistan.

He made his opera debut as Rodolfo in Puccini's La Boheme in the Italian city of Reggio Emilia in 1961.

The singer's first real break came in 1963 when he sang for the first time at London's Covent Garden, again as Rodolfo.

In 1993, he played to more than 500,000 fans in Central Park, New York, and has sung before 300,000 in Paris and 150,000 in London.

Pavarotti has also collaborated with pop stars such as Elton John and U2's Bono to raise money for children's medical and educational projects around the world.

Future plans

He is scheduled to sing in Beijing's Forbidden City and London's Hyde Park later this year.

But despite the successes of his career, his personal life has been more troubled.

The star has just been through an expensive separation from his wife of 35 years, and later this week a trial begins in which he stands accused of cheating in past income tax declarations.

Pavarotti has already announced that he will only continue singing for another "couple of years" before turning to teaching.

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See also:

14 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Pavarotti dreams of Madonna duet
20 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Pavarotti's anniversary date
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