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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 September 2007, 05:32 GMT 06:32 UK
Obituary: Luciano Pavarotti
One of the greatest figures of the opera world, Luciano Pavarotti, has died aged 71. He was diagnosed last year with cancer of the pancreas.

Luciano Pavarotti, 2001
Health problems dogged Pavarotti's farewell tour
Pavarotti was born in Modena, Italy, on 12 October, 1935, the first and only child of a baker.

As a boy, he was more interested in football than music and earned his first local fame as a member of the town's soccer team.

He first sang in the town chorus with his father, an opera lover and gifted amateur tenor.

When the Rossini Male Chorus won first prize in an international competition, Pavarotti decided to pursue music full-time.

His professional debut came on 29 April, 1961, in one of the great tenor roles, Rodolfo in Puccini's La Boheme, at the opera house in Reggio Emilia.

After Italian success came engagements in Amsterdam, Vienna, Zurich and London.

In 1965, he made his US debut in a Miami production of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor with Joan Sutherland - the start of what would become a historic partnership.

Audience frenzy

It was in the United States in 1972 that Pavarotti produced one of his legendary performances.

The Three Tenors
The singer found international stardom as one of the Three Tenors
In La Fille du Regiment at New York's Metropolitan Opera, he sang nine effortless high Cs - causing the audience to erupt in a frenzied ovation.

His recordings became best sellers, covering a wide range of the opera repertoire as well as anthologies of Neapolitan and other Italian songs.

But Pavarotti's fame broadened dramatically when he took part in one of the most remarkable classical concerts of recent times during the 1990 World Cup - as one of the Three Tenors.

With Jose Carreras and Placido Domingo, Pavarotti was broadcast around the world singing a selection of famous arias and popular songs.

The broadcast was a major ratings hit and the subsequent record became one of the biggest-selling classical discs of all time.

Huge concerts

His 1992 concert in London's Hyde Park, in the presence of Charles and Diana, the Prince and Princess of Wales, was the first classical concert in the history of the park and drew some 150,000 people.

In June 1993, more than 500,000 fans gathered to enjoy his performance in New York's Central Park. That September, he sang in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower in Paris to a further 300,000 fans.

Luciano Pavarotti, 2004
He gave his final opera performance in New York in 2004
While many in the classical world criticised the outdoor concerts as mere stunts, his defenders said he was doing a valuable job in popularising opera - and letting large numbers hear one of history's great voices.

There were also grumbles about his duets with pop stars like Sting, Bono and Bryan Adams.

But Pavarotti was also dedicated to the development of young singers, conducting standing-room-only master classes at conservatories around the world.

In March 2004, he gave his final performance in an opera in Puccini's Tosca in New York, where he received a 11-minute standing ovation.

Later that year, he announced he would begin a 40-city farewell tour in 2005 before "taking his leave".

Ill-health wreaked havoc on his schedule, however, with many concerts cancelled or postponed as he battled back problems, laryngitis and a throat infection.


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