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Luciano Pavarotti (1935 - 2007)

Pavarotti’s father was a baker and an amateur tenor and his mother worked in a cigar factory, alongside Mirella Freni’s mother; the family had little money. As a youth he listened to his father’s records of popular tenors and admired the films of Mario Lanza. After completing his formal schooling (and abandoning the idea of becoming a football goalkeeper) he taught in an elementary school for two years and only began to study singing seriously when he was nineteen, with the tenor Arrigo Pola in Modena, who taught him without fee.

Together with his father, Pavarotti was a member of a male-voice choir which won first prize at the Welsh International Eisteddfod in 1955. This inspired him to become a professional singer and after Pola moved to Japan, he studied with Ettore Campogalliani (who also taught his childhood friend Mirella Freni) while continuing to work, including a stint as an insurance salesman. He made his operatic stage debut in 1961 at Reggio Emilia as Rodolfo / La Bohème.




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