The 50th Anniversary of the Launch of Luciano Pavarotti’s Career Celebrated on “Pavarotti: A Voice for the Ages” on THIRTEEN’s “Great Performances in December on PBS
The late great tenor in some of his finest performances and in duet with Sting, Bono,Eric Clapton, and The Three Tenors
Like Enrico Caruso before him, Luciano Pavarotti extended his presence far beyond the limits of Italian opera. Quickly establishing his trademark rich sound as the great male operatic voice of the 20th century, he expanded his reach to stadium concerts and pop collaborations which brought him fame beyond measure. The 50th anniversary of the launch of Pavarotti’s of meteoric international career is celebrated in Pavarotti: A Voice for the Ages, airing in December on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances (check local listings). In New York, THIRTEEN will air the special Saturday, November 30 at 6:30 p.m.
This one-hour program includes “Nessun Dorma” and other beloved arias from La Boheme, Rigoletto and Aida; Neapolitan songs in arrangements by Henry Mancini including “Mamma” and “La mia canzone al vento,” and audience favorites “O Sole Mio” and “Torna a surriento”; as well as popular duets with Bono, Sting, and Eric Clapton.
The program will include a segment from an historic recording of Rodolfo’s aria from La Bohème, ‘Che gelida manina’ (‘Your tiny hand is frozen’), that had been lying dormant in the archives for 50 years, only now to be unearthed by Pavarotti’s widow, Nicoletta Mantovani. This significant track will also appear on Pavarotti: The 50 Greatest Tracks, released by Decca in the U.S. on October 22 celebrating his 50 years recording for the label. Already released in the U.K., the career-spanning collection has catapulted the world’s most beloved tenor back to the top of the charts in England six years after his passing.
Half a million people flocked to hear the maestro in Central Park and millions worldwide watched on television. Audiences adored his larger than life personality, childlike charm, generous figure, and happy-go-lucky style. To his adoring fans, the tenor became a titan of popular culture. In 1963, he launched an international career when he debuted in Amsterdam, Vienna, Zurich and finally in London substituting for the ailing Giuseppe di Stefano as Rodolfo in La Boheme at Covent Garden. Even today, it is his powerful sound with its natural grace and brilliant color which still leads many to consider him the world’s greatest voice. It is Pavarotti who brought opera to the masses and made football fans worldwide fall in love with “Nessun dorma.”
The full musical program follows below:
“Che gelida manina” (La Boheme first recording, 1965 Modena performance and first “Live From the Met” broadcast)
“La donna e mobile” Rigoletto film
“Celeste Aida” (Aida) (performed in concert at the Metropolitan Opera)
“Mamma” (Madison Square Garden – 1984)
“Donna non vidi mai” (Manon Lescaut) (Hyde Park)
“Nessun Dorma” (Turandot) (Central Park)
“Miss Sarajevo” (with Bono/Pavarotti & Friends)
“Holy Mother” (with Eric Clapton/Pavarotti & Friends)
“A Vucchella” (Barcelona recital)
“O Sole Mio” (Three Tenors in Rome)
“Non ti scordar di me”
“La mia canzone al vento”
“Panis Angelicus” (Sting)
“Torna a surriento” (Three Tenors/Naples)
Great Performances is a production of THIRTEEN for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers. Throughout its 40 year history on public television, Great Performances has provided viewers across the country with an unparalleled showcase of the best in all genres of the performing arts, serving as America’s most prestigious and enduring broadcaster of cultural programming. Over the course of its four decades, the series has been the home to the greatest artists in the areas of drama, dance, musical theater, classical and popular music, providing many with their very first television exposure.
John Walker is writer and producer, and Richard R. Schilling is producer. Pavarotti: A Voice for the Ages is a production of THIRTEEN Productions LLC, Decca and C Major Entertainment.
For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is series producer, and David Horn is executive producer.
Major funding for the Great Performances telecast is provided by the Irene Diamond Fund, The Starr Foundation, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Agnes Varis Trust, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, public television viewers and PBS.
Visit Great Performances Online at www.pbs.org/gperf for additional information about this and other programs.
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