Luciano Pavarotti has become perhaps the personification of opera in our time, his inimitable tenor voice and unique personality touching audiences throughout the world. His impact on music has been profound, broadening the horizons of classical music and bringing millions of new fans to his art, through his many appearances not only on the greatest international opera and concert stages, but also on television, in movies and in arena concerts. Adding to the luster of his fame has been the decade-long international success of The Three Tenor concerts, bringing Pavarotti together with the other two great tenors of his generation, José Carreras and Plácido Domingo. For the first time, the three superstars join in a musical celebration of the holiday season on Sony Classical’s The Three Tenors Christmas, filmed and recorded live in Vienna, and available on audio (SK 89131) and home video in VHS and DVD (SVD 89063).
Pavarotti was born in Modena, Italy, on October 12, 1935, the first child and only son of a baker. As a boy, sports occupied much of his time. In fact, he earned his first local fame as a member of the town’s soccer team, excelling at the game he has followed passionately ever since. He first sang in the Modena chorus with his father, a fervent lover of opera and gifted amateur tenor. When the chorus won first prize in an international competition, the youngster was hooked.
His debut came on April 29, 1961, as Rodolfo in La bohème, at the opera house in Reggio Emilia. That success led to engagements throughout Italy and the world, where he conquered audiences in Amsterdam, Vienna, Zürich, and London. His American debut came in February 1965, in a Miami production of Lucia di Lammermoor with Joan Sutherland, the beginning of what would become their historic partnership. Debuts in La bohème, at La Scala, San Francisco, and New York made him one of the most promising tenors of his generation.