Opera Tenor Luciano Pavarotti Dies


Luciano Pavarotti died today at his home in Modena, Italy, after a battle with pancreatic cancer. The superstar tenor was 71. Here’s one obituary and here’s another one with video highlights of his long career. I’ve been reading through the avalanche of obituaries and tributes today (there’s a good collection of them on this website), and one thing is clear: we will never see his like — an opera singer whose death leads the news — ever again.

He was, quite simply, the most spectacularly voiced tenor of the second half of the twentieth century. While his contemporary Placido Domingo has been a model of hard work and extraordinary durability, Pavarotti’s career over the past two decades had been more like that of a stereotypical diva: lots of cancellations. Though a stand-in-place kind of actor, Pavarotti during his prime, the late ’60s and ’70s, was absolutely thrilling vocally in a way that, for me, no one else of our lifetime has been.

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