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Great Performances: Pavarotti: A Life In Seven Arias

Airs Sunday, August 19, 2012 at 12 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Luciano Pavarotti

When Luciano Pavarotti died in September, 2007, the world lost one of the greatest voices in all of music. In celebration of Pavarotti's peerless vocal talent and extraordinary international impact, this performance documentary looks back over his legendary career, utilizing the arias with which he was most closely associated as a narrative framework.

Friends Remember Pavarotti

Pavarotti’s friends and colleagues remember his life. Read what they have to say of the late master.

Give at the $200 level during our TV membership campaign and receive the "Pavarotti: A Life in Seven Arias" Combo which includes a DVD of the program plus the related 2-CD set, "Luciano Pavarotti: The Best" (Farewell Tour). This gift also includes enrollment in the myKPBS Savers Club plus additional online access to more than 130,000 merchant offers and printable coupons, as well as a KPBS license plate frame (if you're a new member).

Above: Give at the $200 level during our TV membership campaign and receive the "Pavarotti: A Life in Seven Arias" Combo which includes a DVD of the program plus the related 2-CD set, "Luciano Pavarotti: The Best" (Farewell Tour). This gift also includes enrollment in the myKPBS Savers Club plus additional online access to more than 130,000 merchant offers and printable coupons, as well as a KPBS license plate frame (if you're a new member).

From his humble origins in Modena, Italy, "A Life In Seven Arias" follows "the King of the High C's" meteoric rise, spanning through his London debut in "La Boheme," his triumph in "La fille du regiment," and his iconic rendition of "Nessun Dorma."

In addition to a treasure trove of classic Pavarotti performances, also featured are new and archival interviews with many of the tenor's friends and colleagues, including Dame Joan Sutherland, Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras, and Juan Diego Florez.

The seven arias, and the chapters they represent in the singer’s life, are:

“Che gelida manina,” from Puccini’s "La Boheme," the opera that marked Pavarotti’s debut and shown in a rare 1965 performance from Modena with Mirella Freni.

“Pour mon ame,” from Donizetti’s "La Fille du Regiment," the work he toured with Joan Sutherland. Its famous aria and nine astronomical high notes he detonated from the stage at Covent Garden earned him the sobriquet King of the High Cs.

“Panis Angelicus,” the haunting Cesar Franck work he sang as a youth in Modena with his father. The duet affords a visit to his beloved hometown and a chance to recall friends there and participation in the city’s renowned Rossini Chorale.

“Questa o quella,” from Verdi’s "Rigoletto," marking the beginning of the Pavarotti media blitz.

“Nessun dorma,” from Puccini’s "Turandot," the aria he makes his own and immortalizes in the first Three Tenors concert.

“E lucevan le stelle,” from Puccini’s "Tosca," underscores the last years and final Met performance.

“Ingemisco,” from the Verdi Requiem.

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Video

Preview: Great Performances: Pavarotti: A Life In Seven Arias

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Above: When Luciano Pavarotti died in September, 2007, the world lost one of the greatest voices in all of music. In celebration of Pavarotti's peerless vocal talent and extraordinary international impact, this performance documentary looks back over his legendary career, utilizing the arias with which he was most closely associated as a narrative framework.