Why is Adele more famous than Pavarotti

Luciano Pavarotti

Luciano Pavarotti (* October 12, 1935 in Modena; † September 6, 2007 ibid) was an Italian opera singer (tenor). He is considered to be one of the most important tenors of all time, beyond the borders of opera and classical music. As a member of the Three tenors and as a duet partner for many pop artists, Pavarotti became a superstar. He also used his fame for benefit concerts. During his career he has sold more than 26.3 million records. The most successful release by Luciano Pavarotti is the album The Three Tenors in Concert with around 19.9 million units sold.

Live and act

Luciano Pavarotti was the son of the baker Fernando Pavarotti (1913 - May 24, 2002) and his wife Adele Venturi (1916 - January 10, 2002), who worked in a tobacco factory. He grew up in very cramped conditions with his parents and sister in a two-room apartment. The later soprano Mirella Freni, his childhood friend and frequent singing partner, and he were looked after by the same wet nurse, their mothers were work colleagues. At first he wanted to become a teacher, so he studied pedagogy at the “Scuola delle Magistrale” and also taught as a primary school teacher in Modena for two years. In addition to his bakery, his father was also active as a tenor in the Choir of the City of Modena, but because of being too nervous he turned down the singing profession. His son Luciano also had his first singing experiences in the choir. In 1956, Luciano Pavarotti decided to turn singing into a profession and began to study classical singing with Arrigo Pola in Modena and later with Ettore Campogalliani in Mantua. He also worked as an insurance agent in order to finance his studies - which lasted over six years.

Pavarotti made his debut at the Reggio nell’Emilia Opera House in 1961 as Rodolfo in Puccini's “La Bohème”, his later star role, and won an international singing competition. Part of the award was her debut as Rodolfo in Puccinis La bohemian at the Modena Opera House. The performance was conducted by Leone Magiera, his childhood friend at the time; later he was his pianist at song recitals for decades. He was also Mirella Freni's husband at the time. The performance was broadcast live by RAI. This was followed by invitations from various Italian and international opera houses, such as Amsterdam, Covent Garden, the Vienna State Opera (debut as Rodolfo in La bohemian on February 24, 1963), Zurich and Glyndebourne.

In 1965 he performed with Joan Sutherland and her husband Richard Bonynge on a tour in the USA and Australia, a year later he made his debut at La Scala in Milan. At the mediation of the Decca manager Terry McEwen, Pavarotti hired the former speechwriter Herbert Breslin (* 1926) as his agent from 1967. "Luciano, you're a nice guy. So you need a real bastard [Breslin] to do your publicity. "

Breslin organized his debut for him at the Met in 1968. Further appearances took place in Barcelona, ​​Paris, London and at the Salzburg Festival (1978 as an Italian singer in The Rosenkavalier, 1983 in the title role of Mozart Idomeneo).

In 1981 he founded a competition for young singers in Philadelphia and began to reduce the number of his appearances on the stage. In contrast, he appeared more often in concerts and on television. Pavarotti made his debut as a director in 1988 at the Venice Opera (La favorita by Gaetano Donizetti).

Breslin managed to turn the opera star Pavarotti into a pop and superstar through a joint appearance by Pavarotti with the two tenors Plácido Domingo and José Carreras in a sporting event broadcast worldwide. The concert of the three tenors in the Roman Baths of Caracalla at the 1990 Football World Cup on July 7, 1990 reached around one billion television viewers around the world. The vocal trio popularized opera arias and was able to fill soccer stadiums and sports arenas with listeners on their subsequent tours with this program. The aria Nessun dorma (Vincerò! Vincerò!) is one of the most famous and successful opera arias and probably led Pavarotti to the height of his fame in the run-up to the soccer World Cup in Italy. The music world criticized the astronomically high fees as commercialization and a banalization of the opera repertoire.

In 1999 he celebrated his 40th anniversary on stage. At the instigation of his new partner Nicoletta Mantovani, Pavarotti separated from his manager and confidante Herbert Breslin in 2002 after 36 years. The latter in turn published a biography of Pavarotti two years later, which, despite all of Breslin's admiration, was viewed as an accumulation of indiscretions and resentment and caused discomfort among reviewers.

In 2004, Pavarotti announced after three acclaimed performances of Puccinis Tosca at the Metropolitan Opera in New York the end of his stage career. As a concert singer, he continued to be active on tours that took him around the world, in song recitals, arena concerts and open-air concerts. In 2005 he decided to go on a big farewell tour, which had to be canceled due to cancer.

His last major appearance was at the opening ceremony of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, where he performed the aria Nessun dorma with the conductor Leone Magiera and his orchestra. Magiera made in his book Pavarotti. Visto da Vicino known that Pavarotti no longer sang because of his advanced disease, but only wanted to use a playback.

Marriages and families

In 1960 Pavarotti married Adua Veroni; the couple had three daughters Lorenza, Cristina and Giuliana. The marriage ended in divorce in 2000. Pavarotti was said to have had many affairs that his wife tolerated until she threw him out of their shared apartment in 1993 because of holiday shots with Nicoletta Mantovani (* 1969) in a magazine. He had met Nicoletta Mantovani in 1993, she had been working in a concert agency for the annual concert series "Pavarotti & Friends" in Modena since 1992. She worked first in the office and then as his personal secretary.

In January 2003 Nicoletta Mantovani gave birth to twins, but the son died after complications during childbirth. Because of lengthy divorce negotiations and Adua's high financial demands, Pavarotti could not marry Nicoletta Mantovani until December 2003. Based on allegations by two friends of Pavarotti that shortly before his death he complained about Nicoletta Mantovani's greed for money, she sued the two for defamation for € 30 million in compensation.

Sickness and death

In early July 2006, Luciano Pavarotti was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. A few days after the diagnosis, he underwent a duodenopancreatectomy in New York, in which the pancreas and the tumor were removed. For the remaining months of 2006, however, all appearances were canceled.

Pavarotti then announced that he would return to his home country Italy to recover there and then continue his farewell tour around the world, which he had canceled in London at the end of June 2006 due to illness.

In August 2007, Pavarotti was hospitalized again with pneumonia. In early September 2007, his health deteriorated rapidly. On September 4th, he was released home to be treated by doctors. He died of kidney failure on September 6 at 5:00 a.m. (CET) at the age of 71.

From September 6 to 8, 2007, around 100,000 people said goodbye to Pavarotti, who was laid out in an open coffin in the Cathedral of San Geminiano in Modena. Archbishop Benito Cocchi, who also received a condolence from Pope Benedict XVI, celebrated the funeral mass in the cathedral on September 8th, which was broadcast worldwide by television. read. The celebration was accompanied by music from the Choir of the City of Modena as well as the soprano Rajna Kabaiwanska, the flautist Andrea Griminelli and the tenor Andrea Bocelli. In addition, a video recording of the Panis angelicus shown by César Franck in a joint interpretation by Pavarotti with his father. In honor of Pavarotti, a formation of ten fighter jets of the aerobatic team "Frecce Tricolori" flew during his funeral and left smoke streaks in the colors of the Italian flag, green-white-red. This usually only happens at state funerals. After a funeral procession through downtown Modena, Pavarotti was buried in his parents' grave in Montale Rangone, ten kilometers away, a district of Castelnuova Rangone (Modena province).


There are very contradicting data and estimates about the amount of Pavarotti's inheritance. The British daily Daily Telegraph puts this at £ 250 million, which in addition to its art collection with Matisse paintings and restaurants also includes real estate in New York City, Barbados, Italy and Monte-Carlo.

In 1996 he was charged with tax evasion between 1989 and 1991: after four years in court, in 2000 he publicly presented the then Finance Minister Ottaviano Del Turco with a check for 25 billion lire (EUR 12.5 million) to pay off his tax debts . In the following year he had to answer again for tax evasion in court. The point of contention was the real residence of Pavarotti, who, because of his many tours, denied staying mainly in his country house near Modena.

When the will was opened, it initially seemed that Pavarotti was allegedly leaving behind a million dollar fortune with a debt of 18 million euros. The executor Giorgio Cariani pointed out, however: “We are still at the very beginning with the inventory.” Mantovani was appointed chief heir, but his first wife wanted to contest this. The main controversial issue is the creation of two wills, according to which everything Pavarotti owned in the USA would be given to Mantovani alone and only had to share the Italian part with Pavarotti's daughters. In the last months of Pavarotti's life, she acquired stakes in other agencies, in advertising, real estate and travel companies as well as in software companies. Since then, Mantovani has also had to fight against bad press in Italy.

After an interview with Mantovani's lawyer in the daily newspaper Quotidiano Nazionale Pavarotti's widow is said to have agreed on an amicable division of the inheritance with the three daughters ten months after Pavarotti's death.


Luciano Pavarotti was one of the most famous tenors of all time, one of the best-known representatives of the opera art genre and, together with Maria Callas, the best-selling classical music star. In the time of his High bloom he sold twice as many records as Carreras and Domingo (the other two of the Three Tenors) together. He was the first classical artist whose CD recordings hit the pop hit parades and penetrated the pop area in terms of sales.

At the beginning of his career, Pavarotti was a light lyric tenor - ideal for the roles of Bellini, Donizetti and the young Verdi. Over time, however, his voice also developed in the direction of more dramatic roles up to verismo, the genre of opera that was founded by Puccini, Mascagni and Leoncavallo, tells of the everyday life of the average population and is characterized by very dramatic music.

According to Herbert von Karajan, Pavarotti was a tenor of the century, a voice that only exists once every 100 years. At the last opera performance under Herbert von Karajan's direction, Luciano Pavarotti sang the role of Cavaradossi (Tosca by Giacomo Puccini, Salzburg Easter Festival, 1989).

Pavarotti's complete opera recordings are regarded as outstanding works of vocal art. The great success in the field of record sales and the rise to a superstar who crossed the boundaries from classic to pop star, however, also earned him criticism from purists and critics. It was also repeatedly claimed that Pavarotti had said himself that he could not read music. His audience, however, had a clear stance: on February 24, 1988, after his appearance as Nemorino in Donizetti's at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin Love potion 115 curtains registered, with 67 minutes of uninterrupted applause.

In addition to his stage career, he pursued an equally successful concert career, which reached its peak in the 1990s. Even before the concerts of the 3 tenors, Pavarotti gave an open air concert in London's Hyde Park in 1992 in front of 250,000 people and in 1993 his largest in New York's Central Park in front of 500,000 listeners, which is the best-attended classical concert by a solo artist to date.

In addition, he consistently pursued the crossover section with the so-called “Pavarotti and Friends” concerts, in which he recorded duets with many current pop stars, which were sold over ten million times. The single Miss Sarajevo with Bono from U2 reached number 6 in the British pop charts and number 1 in Latvia.

During his career, Pavarotti has sung on all major international stages and worked with almost all of the great conductors of his time. In addition to Joan Sutherland and Mirella Freni, his singing partners included Montserrat Caballé, Maria Chiara, Ileana Cotrubaș and Kiri Te Kanawa.


From tenore lirico to tenore lirico spinto

At the beginning of his singing life, Luciano Pavarotti's vocal subject was a bright lyrical tenor (tenore lirico) who reached the heights without difficulty. The ease of his voice guidance and the radiant, silver sound of his voice caught the attention of the soprano Joan Sutherland and her husband, the conductor and bel canto specialist Richard Bonynge. In the mid-1960s, they were looking for a suitable tenor voice for Sutherland in order to revive Bellini and Gaetano Donizetti's bel canto repertoire, which was neglected at the time. Pavarotti accepted her invitation to tour the USA and Australia in 1965, thus starting a long-term collaboration and training at Sutherland. His coloratura skills and breathing technique were poorly developed up to then. In 1967 he sang in the aria Ah, mes amis the nine high Cs in Donizettis La fille du regiment (The regiment daughter) with impressive certainty and thus established his fame.

On February 25, 1976, when he was just over 40 years old, he sang Arturo in Vincenzo Bellinis I puritani, and on the advice of his manager Herbert Breslin switched from bel canto to the dramatic and heroic roles of tenore lirico spinto. Immediately afterwards, the US magazine Newsweek celebrated him in a cover story as "The Great Pavarotti", an allusion to "The Great Caruso". He now focused on Verdi and Puccini operas as Manrico in Il trovatore, Radamès in Aida, Cavaradossi in Tosca and calaf in Turandot. Here he developed richer timbres and shades and perfected his phrasing.

Pavarotti's voice was characterized by an unusual level of head resonance, which became even more pronounced as his career progressed. This gave it a bright, vibrating sound that made it unmistakable. Later in his career, however, Pavarotti repeatedly had dropouts in high notes. He responded by having some parts transposed lower and concentrating on concerts in larger settings, where audio technology could support his singing.


Since Pavarotti only sang in Italian, his repertoire comprised only 18 operatic roles, the French repertoire was almost entirely absent. Only the Decca recording of the “regiment daughter” is recorded in the French original language. Another exception is his interpretation of We Are the World by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, recorded in 1985, which he performed with the band Boyzone, Alex Britti, Mariah Carey, Joe Cocker, Gloria Estefan, B.B. King, Ricky Martin, Gianni Morandi, Laura Pausini, Lionel Richie, Renato Zero and Zucchero covered. The proceeds went to children's aid in Guatemala and Kosovo. In the 1969 recording of the [German-speaking] Rosenkavalier under Georg Solti, Pavarotti performed the Italian aria "Di rigori armato". His interpretations on stage and on sound carriers are among the most brilliant performances in opera history. The clarity of the intonation, the accuracy of his diction and especially the eruptive, euphoric and triumphant arias, which he knew how to shape powerfully and brilliantly like no other, are emphasized.

Honors (excerpt)

  • 1976: Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
  • 1979: Grammy for "Best Classical Vocal Soloist Performance"; Four more Grammies followed in the next few years.
  • 1980: Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
  • 1988: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
  • 1989: The Hamburg State Opera honored him with the appointment of Hamburger Kammersänger.
  • 1998: he received the "Grammy Legend Award".
  • 1999: Namesake of the Centro Educativo Pavarotti
  • 2001: Pavarotti received the World Social Award and the Nansen Refugee Award.
  • 2005: Honorary Citizen of London
  • Officer of the Legion of Honor
  • Commander of the Order of Cultural Merit
  • 2013: Classic Brit Award (Lifetime Achievement Award)


“He was the public tenor par excellence. He was there for the masses, he embraced them, waved at them with his handkerchief, laughed, cried, paced, and won. "

Die Zeit, September 13, 2007

“Pavarotti was [...] a tenor like no other in his time. In its silver brilliance, its open tone and its lyrical smoothness, his nevertheless metallic penetrating and comparatively voluminous voice was unmistakable, unique. "

FAZ, March 2004

“The brilliance and beauty of the material were already noticeable in the early sixties; Added to this was a technique that allowed him to jump to peak notes with unheard-of elasticity, to phrase it in a distinctive and elegant way over a wide area, to advance voice and music with rhythmic verve. He was also lucky enough to work with conductors who took their job seriously, who wanted to develop their phenomenal talent. "

FAZ, October 12, 1995

Pavarotti & Friends

The 3 tenors

more publishments

titlemediumyearMusic publisherOrder number
Primo tenorCD1971DeccaCD002894177132
Gala concert in the Royal Albert HallCD1982DeccaCD002894307162
Passione; Neapolitan songsCD1985DeccaCD002894171172
Mancini, Henry: VolareCD1987DeccaCD002894210522
Pavarotti at Carnegie HallCD1988DeccaCD002894215262
Pavarotti in Hyde ParkCD1991DeccaCD002894363202
Opera duetsCD1991DeccaCD002894000582
A Night In Central ParkCD1994DeccaCD002894444502
My heart is all yoursCD1994DeccaCD002894432602
Pavarotti PlusCD1995DeccaCD002894487002
The Greatest Tenors of the CenturyCD1998Deutsche GrammophonCD002894593622
The Essential Romantic CollectionCD2001DeccaCD002894685002
Live recitalCD2001DeccaCD002894663502
Italian Popular SongsCD2001DeccaCD002894700102
The Pavarotti EditionCD2001DeccaCD002894700002
O Holy Night 2005CD2005DeccaCD002894756896
Pavarotti, Luciano - The Best 2005CD2005DeccaCD002894756816

Complete opera recordings

composertitlemediumyearMusic publisherOrder number
Richard StraussThe RosenkavalierCD1969DeccaCD002894174932
Gioacchino RossiniStabat MaterCD1971DeccaCD002894177662
Giuseppe VerdiRigolettoCD1971DeccaCD002894142692
Giacomo PucciniLa bohemianCD1973DeccaCD002894210492
Giacomo PucciniMadama ButterflyCD1974DeccaCD002894212472
Pietro MascagniCavalleria rusticanaCD1978DeccaCD002894443912
Gaetano DonizettiLa favoritaCD1978DeccaCD002894300382
Gaetano DonizettirequiemCD1980DeccaCD002894250432
Gioacchino RossiniGugliemo TellCD1980DeccaCD002894171542
Giuseppe VerdiLa traviataCD1981DeccaCD002894304912
Arrigo BoitoMefistofeleCD1985DeccaCD002894101752
Vincenzo BelliniNormaCD1988DeccaCD002894144762
Giuseppe VerdiAidaCD1989DeccaCD002894174392
Gaetano DonizettiMaria StuardaCD1990DeccaCD002894254102
Gaetano DonizettiL'elisir d’amoreCD1990Deutsche GrammophonCD002894297442
Giuseppe VerdiLuisa MillerCD1991DeccaCD002894174202
Giuseppe VerdiOtelloCD1991DeccaCD002894336692
Giuseppe VerdiUn ballo in mascheraCD1991DeccaCD002894102102
Vincenzo BelliniLa sonnambulaCD1991DeccaCD002894174242
Umberto GiordanoAndrea ChénierCD1991DeccaCD002894101172
Vincenzo Bellini I puritaniCD1991DeccaCD002894175882
Gaetano DonizettiLa fille du regimentCD1991DeccaCD002894145202
Giacomo PucciniMadama ButterflyCD1991DeccaCD002894175772
Giacomo PucciniToscaCD1991DeccaCD002894140362
Giacomo PucciniTurandotCD1991DeccaCD002894142742
Gaetano DonizettiLucia di LammermoorCD1991DeccaCD002894101932
Richard StraussThe RosenkavalierCD1991DeccaCD002894174932
Vincenzo BelliniBeatrice di TendaCD1992DeccaCD002894337062
Giuseppe VerdiLa traviata (Extracts)CD1992Deutsche GrammophonCD002894377262
Ruggiero LeoncavalloPagliacciCD1993PhilipsCD002894341312
Giacomo PucciniManon LescautCD1993DeccaCD002894402002
Giuseppe VerdiMacbethCD1994DeccaCD002894400482
Giuseppe VerdiDon CarloCD1994EMI?
Giuseppe VerdiIl trovatoreCD1995DeccaCD002894306942
Giuseppe VerdiI LombardiCD1997DeccaCD002894552872
Gioacchino RossiniPetite fair solennelleCD1998DeccaCD002894550232
Giuseppe VerdiIl trovatoreCD1998DeccaCD002894607352
Giuseppe VerdiUn ballo in mascheraCD1998DeccaCD002894607622
Amilcare PonchielliLa GiocondaCD2005DeccaCD002894756670
Giuseppe VerdiErnaniCD2005DeccaCD002894757008
Arrigo BoitoMefistofeleCD2005DeccaCD002894756666
Wolfgang Amadeus MozartIdomeneoCD2006DeccaCD002894757041
Gioacchino RossiniGuglielmo TellCD2006DeccaCD002894757723
Gaetano DonizettiL'elisir d’amoreCD2006DeccaCD002894757514
Giuseppe VerdiIl trovatoreCD2007DeccaCD002894758281

Awards for music sales

Main article: Luciano Pavarotti / Music Sales Awards


Pavarotti was nicknamed "Big P." by his singing partner and mentor Joan Sutherland.

In the last years of his life, the obese Pavarotti used an electric car backstage, which was jokingly called "Pavamobil" in reference to the Pope's car.

To reduce his excess weight, Pavarotti had employed two dieticians and lived with them.

He founded a school in Guatemala, the Centro Educativo Pavarotti, to help children in a country that was plagued by civil war.