Born in Modena, Italy, Luciano Pavarotti gained his first musical experiences with his city's chorus, of which his father, Fernando, was also a member. The teenage Pavarotti and his father travelled with the "Chorus Rossini" to Wales, and went on to win first prize in the Llangollen international singing competition. This experience fired the young Pavarotti's musical ambitions for life as a tenor. He had originally trained to become a teacher, but, after first studying with Arrigo Pola and then with Ettore Campogalliani, he won the prestigious Concorso Internazionale in 1961 and made his operatic debut as Rodolfo in La Bohème at the Teatro Reggio Emilia that year.
Pavarotti's colleagues have included the most glorious stars of opera: Montserrat Caballé, Piero Cappuccilli, José Carreras, Fiorenza Cossotto, PlÃ¡cido Domingo, Mirella Freni, Kiri Te Kanawa, Aprile Millo, Robert Merrill, Sherrill Milnes, Leontyne Price, Leonie Rysanek, Renata Scotto, Dame Joan Sutherland, Carol Vaness and Shirley Verrett, to name but a few. Conductors with whom Pavarotti has collaborated include Tullio Serafin (who conducted Pavarotti's first performances of Rigoletto in Palermo in 1962), Claudio Abbado, Leonard Bernstein, Richard Bonynge, Riccardo Chailly, Carlos Kleiber, Lamberto Gardelli, Carlo Maria Giulini, Herbert von Karajan, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Leone Maggiera, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti, Eugene Ormandy, Seiji Ozawa and Sir Georg Solti.
During his career, Luciano Pavarotti has appeared on the world's most important opera stages, amongst them the Metropolitan Opera (New York), Bastille (Paris), Deutsche Oper (Berlin), La Fenice (Venice), Garnier (Paris), Glyndebourne, Royal Opera House Covent Garden (London), San Carlo (Naples), La Scala (Milan), Staatsoper (Vienna), Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires) and the opera houses of Barcelona, Chicago, Florence, Hamburg, Madrid, Miami, Monte Carlo, Philadelphia, Rome, Salzburg, San Francisco, Sydney, Turin and Zurich.
Pavarotti will be forever identified with key tenor roles of such operas as Aida, Ballo in Maschera, La Bohème, L'Elisir d'Amore, La Fille du Régiment, La Traviata, Madama Butterfly, Manon Lescaut, I Pagliacci, Rigoletto, Tosca, Il Trovatore and Turandot. His recordings are constant best sellers and recordings of operas include Aida, La Bohème, Cavalleria Rusticana, Andrea Chénier, Don Carlo, L'Elisir d'Amore, Ernani, La Fille du Régiment, Norma, I Puritani, La Sonnambula, Lucia di Lammermoor, Maria Stuarda, Mefistofele, La Favorita, L'Amico Fritz, Manon Lescaut, Pagliacci, Idomeneo, I Lombardi, Macbeth, Luisa Miller, Otello, Rigoletto, Tosca, La Traviata, Il Trovatore and William Tell. Pavarotti has recorded the Verdi Requiem and the Rossini Stabat Mater and his catalogue includes many best-selling solo discs - of recitals, aria collections, Neapolitan and Italian songs and an ever-popular Christmas recording, O Holy Night. The Essential Pavarotti became the first ever classical album to reach the number one position in the UK Pop Charts, remaining there for an unprecedented 5 weeks. Since the 1990 World Cup, Nessun Dorma has become inextricably linked to both Pavarotti and football.
Luciano Pavarotti is dedicated to the development of the careers of young singers and initiated an international vocal competition in Philadelphia, a competition which has helped launch the careers of many singers. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of his career, Pavarotti invited winners to Italy for gala performances of La Bohème, resulting in an historic visit to China for performances of the opera with young singers in Beijing. To conclude the visit, Pavarotti gave the first concert ever held in the Great Hall of the People.
Pavarotti created his now world-famous annual charity concert, Pavarotti & Friends, which celebrated its tenth concert in 2003. Bringing together artists from diverse musical worlds, the great tenor has been joined by some of the best-known names in rock, pop and jazz, including Bryan Adams, Anastacia, Jon Bon Jovi, Boyzone, James Brown, George Benson, Bono and the Edge of U2, Mariah Carey, Tracey Chapman, The Chieftains, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Natalie Cole, The Corrs, Sheryl Crow, Lucio Dalla, Celine Dion, Brian Eno, Gloria Estefan, the Eurythmics, Bob Geldof, Enrique Iglesias, Elton John, Grace Jones, Tom Jones, BB King, Ricky Martin, John MacLauchlin, Meat Loaf, George Michael, Liza Minnelli, Eros Ramazzotti, Lionel Richie, Spice Girls, Sting, Barry White, Stevie Wonder and Zucchero. These charity concerts have raised millions of dollars for major medical, vocational and educational initiatives in Bosnia, Cambodia, Kosovo, Guatemala, Liberia, Tibet and for Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan, Angolan in Zambia and Iraqi.
Luciano Pavarotti has been awarded an enormous number of international accolades, including the Commendatore Cross and Grand Official Cross for services to the Italian Republic, numerous Emmy, Gramophone and Grammy Awards (including the 1998 Grammy "Legend Award"), Officer of the Légion d'Honneur, Musicares Person of the Year, Honorary degrees from the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts and the Universities of Pittsburgh, Oklahoma City, Parma, Urbino and San Martin Lima, Peru, the Ville de Paris Prize (awarded by Jacques Chirac), People's Choice Award, Kammersänger (presented by the Austrian Minister of Culture). In 1998, to celebrate the tenor's 30th anniversary at the Metropolitan Opera House, the Mayor of New York, Rudi Giuliani, proclaimed Luciano Pavarotti Day. Four years ago, Pavarotti was appointed a United Nations Messenger for Peace by Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan and, in 2001, the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) presented the tenor with the coveted Nansen Award in recognition of helping to raise more funds for the UN refugee agency than any other private individual. In November 2001, President Gorbachev presented Luciano Pavarotti with the World Social Award in Vienna and he was recently presented with a Kennedy Center Honors Awards. In 2004, he was presented with the Eisenhower Medal and given the highest honour of the Italian community of the USA: the induction into the Italian Hall of Fame by NIAF (National Italian American Foundation). On September 4, 2007, the Italian Minister of Culture presented Pavarotti with the "Excellency in Culture Award" for his huge contribution to the spread of Italian culture and art worldwide.
In March 2004, Luciano Pavarotti gave his final performance in staged opera at New York's Metropolitan Opera House ; his last performance before a huge audience happened on the Occasion of the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Turin, 2006.
Maestro Luciano Pavarotti passed away in his Modena's house on September 6, 2007.