Unforgettable also Pavarotti's 'Vesti la Giubba' from Leoncavallo's Il Pagliacci, which may not have been one of his trademark arias in the 'popular hits' category, but which has always fascinated opera lovers throughout the world for its intensity.
The stages of Pavarotti's long and globe-spanning career are well known, but here are the most important milestones again: as a teenager, he sang with his father in the Modena choir. Later, he sold insurance and worked as a teacher in order to finance his singing lessons. When his choir won the international choir competition in Llangollen/Wales, he decided to pursue singing as a career. In 1961, he won the Concurso Internazionale, and in the same year gave his international opera debut in Belgrade (La Traviata). In 1965 followed his US début in Miami (Lucia di Lammermoor, together with Dame Joan Sutherland), and in the same year, he had his debut at La Scala as Rodolfo, a part which he took for his Met debut to New York in 1968. He has received numerous awards and honors, has sung for most of the important conductors of our time, and in most of the world's renowned opera houses. When he decided to put a popular touch to his opera, the result was, again, one of high international acclaim. The first three tenors concert, on the eve of the 1990 Soccer World Cup finals, set a record as the fastest selling classical recording of all times. The 1994 three tenors concert, for the 1994 World Cup Finals, became the globally most widely viewed music event.
Throughout his career, Pavarotti remained interested in helping young singers, and so he initiated an international singing competition in Philadelphia that became the launch of many young singers' careers. His records and CDs became bestsellers all over the world and he donated millions of dollars from the proceeds to charity, among others the proceeds of several 'Pavarotti and Friends' concerts and recordings to the international aid organization War Child. Together with War Child, he created a music center for children in the bombed-out Bosnian town of Mostar, in order to help them overcome their traumatic war experiences. In December 1997, the center was officially opened by the tenor himself.
Aged 71, Pavarotti died of cancer, in the early hours of Thursday morning, in Modena, surrounded by his family and friends. He was known as the most popular and commercially most successful tenor of his generation.