By Gilles Castonguay 路透社
MODENA, Italy (Reuters) – Legendary Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti, who brought opera to the masses with his powerful voice and jovial personality, died on Thursday of pancreatic cancer, aged 71.
Although his health had been failing for a year, the death of the bearded tenor, known as “Big Luciano” because of his 127 kg (280 lb) bulk, saddened everyone from impresarios and critics of to fans who could barely afford tickets.
“There were tenors, and then there was Pavarotti,” said Italian film director Franco Zeffirelli.
While past opera greats often locked themselves in a gilded, elitist world, television viewers around the world heard Pavarotti sing with pop stars such as Sting and Bono in his “Pavarotti and Friends” benefits for the needy.
“He was one of those rare artists who affected the lives of people across the globe, in all walks of life,” London’s Royal Opera House at Covent Garden said in a statement.
“Through his countless broadcasts, recordings and concerts, he introduced the extraordinary power of opera to people who perhaps would never have encountered opera and classical singing. In doing so, he enriched their lives. That will be his legacy.”
Vienna’s opera house flew a black flag to mourn “a human being who had an extraordinary impact through his art and who gave endlessly to his audience,” director Ioan Holender said.