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GREAT PERFORMANCES: Pavarotti: A Voice For The Ages

Airs Friday, September 5, 2014 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Pavarotti at Madison Square Garden.

Credit: Courtesy of Don Perdue/WNET

Above: Pavarotti at Madison Square Garden.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Decca/© Mike Evans

Luciano Pavarotti and Henry Mancini rehearse for the recording of "Mamma."

Photo credit: Courtesy of WNET


Give at the $150 level during our membership campaign and receive the "Pavarotti: A Voice For The Ages" DVD plus a "Pavarotti: The 50 Greatest Tracks" 2-CD set. This gift includes a KPBS License Plate Frame (if you're a new member). The DVD only is available at the $75 level, and the 2-CD set only at $90.

Like Enrico Caruso before him, Luciano Pavarotti extended his presence far beyond the limits of Italian opera. Quickly establishing his rich sound as the great male operatic voice of the 20th century, he expanded his reach to stadium concerts and pop collaborations that brought him fame beyond measure. Audiences adored his larger than life personality, childlike charm, generous figure and happy go lucky style.

This program celebrates the 50th anniversary since the launch of the international phenomenon. In 1963, he debuted in Amsterdam, Vienna, Zurich and finally London. Even today, it is his powerful sound, with its natural grace and brilliant color, that still leads many to consider him the world’s greatest voice.

Pavarotti brought opera to the masses and made football fans worldwide fall in love with “Nessun dorma.” This program includes that hit and other arias from "La Bohème," "Rigoletto" and "Aida"; Neapolitan songs in arrangements by Henry Mancini, including “Mamma” and “O Sole Mio”; and popular duets with Bono, Sting, Vanessa Williams and Eric Clapton.

The full musical program includes: "Che gelida manina" ("La Bohème" 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); "la Danza."

GREAT PERFORMANCES is a production of THIRTEEN for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers. 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.

This program is part of our TV Membership Campaign. Support quality programming you depend on from KPBS. Join or renew today!

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