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Luciano Pavarotti: celebrating a life

Posted by: Comms 12 October 2018

Luciano Pavarotti

A great – perhaps the great – modern-day operatic tenor, Luciano Pavarotti, was born on this day in 1935. We at Pancreatic Cancer UK want to say something about him today, to celebrate and commemorate a life taken from us by this illness.

To find out about this remarkable artist, other than just that he sang beautifully, we did some searching – and discovered this lovely piece by Classic FM, with 15 facts covering the range of his life. It unearths all sorts of interesting stories. For example, did you know that his first major success was here in the UK, just by the River Dee in north Wales, when he won first prize at the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen? Or that at one New York performance in 1972 he got an amazing and record-breaking 17 curtain calls? (For which we should also be impressed by the stamina of the audience to clap and cheer for so long!) We also learned from this piece in the Guardian that Pavarotti hated purple, so if he was still with us we'd have to work pretty hard to get him to support our purple-covered campaigns.

Here he is in 1964, when he was just 29, on Soviet television. It’s a beautiful performance and a clear sign of the triumphs to come.

Finally, here are some fanastic tributes to him from other notable people - including Aretha Franklin, who lost her life to pancreatic cancer in August 2018.

"I loved his wonderful sense of humour. Sometimes in our concerts with Jose Carreras we forgot we were performing before a paying audience, because the three of us were having so much fun."

Placido Domingo

"By staging concerts and marshaling talented friends to help raise funds, he generated millions of dollars for humanitarian aid."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

"I had the pleasure of not only performing for him in tribute, but performing in his stead at the Grammy Awards in 1998, singing 'Nessun Dorma.' I had one magnificent and absolute and defining moment when he came to the stage to thank me for my performance. The world has lost one of the greatest voices of all time."

Aretha Franklin


Would you like to join us in celebrating the life of someone you know who had pancreatic cancer? You can add a message to our tribute wall - or if you're ready to share more stories about someone's life, we'd love to hear them, and hopefully share them on our website as a blog post like this. Write to us at digital@pancreaticcancer.org.uk and title your email 'Celebrating a life'.