Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Farewell To Fat Louie

Italian pop opera icon Luciano Pavarotti, who passed away after a long battle with pancreatic cancer today, was his country’s singing ambassador and a humanitarian who endeared himself to old and young alike.

Luciano was born on October 12, 1935 in Modena, central Italy.

His father was a baker who could sing well, while his mother worked in a cigar factory.

During World War 2, the Pavarottis lived in a farm, and Luciano developed a keen interest in animals.

Luciano, who enjoyed listening to the music of popular tenors Beniamino Gigli, Giovanni Martinelli, Tito Schipa and Enrico Caruso, first sang at 9 in his church’s choir.

He also excelled in football, and became a life-long Juventus fan.

When Luciano completed his studies, he taught in an elementary school for 2 years, before seriously pursuing a career in music.

At 19, Luciano underwent lessons from tenor Arrigo Pola. He also studied under Ettore Campogalliani.

He made his opera debut in 1961 in the play La Boheme. Four years later, he performed in Miami, the United States.

Luciano’s first concert in Rome took place in 1969.

From then onwards, his music career rocketed, and he won many Grammy Awards as well as platinum and gold discs for his performances.

The portly singer, nicknamed Fat Louie, was not just known for his powerful voice and stubby beard, but also his white dinner napkin which he used as a handkerchief.

Luciano visited and sang in Malaysia in 1994, and toured the popular holiday destination, Pangkor Island, in Sitiawan, Perak.

In the 1980s, Luciano set up the Pavarotti International Voice Competition for young singers with an interest in operatic music.

Luciano's major performance which made him an international celebrity was his rendition of Giacomo Puccini’s aria Nessun Dorma, the 1990 FIFA World Cup theme song.

He also teamed up with Placido Domingo and Spain’s Jose Carreras as The Three Tenors, performing around the world.

Luciano also held annual concerts under the banner of Pavarotti And Friends to raise funds for war victims in Bosnia, Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon, Guatemala and Kosovo (in Serbia) among others.

A close friend of the late Princess Diana Spencer, Luciano also raised funds from his concerts to aid the destruction of land mines.

In 1998, he became the only opera singer to perform in Saturday Night Live. In the same year, he was given the Grammy Legend Award.

In 2006, he sang Nessun Dorma at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

Luciano also acted in a film Yes, Giorgio, in 1982.

Diagnosed with cancer last year, Luciano had plans for a farewell world tour once he recovered.

Both his parents have passed away. His mother died in 2002 aged 86 while his father died in the same year, aged 89.

Luciano is survived by four daughters, three with first wife Adua Veroni and one with second wife Nicoletta Mantovani. He has one granddaughter.

Through benefit concerts and volunteer work, he has raised more than US$1.5 million (RM3 million), more than any other individual.

The blogger says:
So long, Fat Louie. I’ll be having toffee fudge ice-cream, your favourite, today.

Thanks, Wikipedia, for the information.