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Luciano Pavarotti (October 12, 1935 - September 6, 2007) was a celebrated Italian tenor in operatic music, who successfully crossed into popular music becoming one of the most beloved vocal performers. Known for his televised concerts, media appearances, and as one of The Three Tenors, Pavarotti also was noted for his charity work benefiting refugees, the Red Cross and other causes. Pavarotti began as a tenor in 1961 in Italy, and then he sang in various European houses including in Vienna and London. It was his US debut in 1965 (with soprano Joan Sutherland, who invited the young tenor in Miami to tour) that gave him both valuable experience and significant recognition. They were solidified in the years between 1966 and 1972, during which he first appeared at Milan's La Scala and other major European houses, and made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1972 to a great acclaim. By late 1970s, Pavarotti became known worldwide, famed for the brilliance and beauty of his tone, especially into the upper register. His "high C" became one of his trademarks. The 1970s and 1980s saw Pavarotti making significant appearances in the world's opera houses, and establishing himself as one of the great singers of the era.
The opening ceremony of the soccer 1990 World Cup in Italy launched the tenor into popular stardom after his performance of Nessun Dorma from Turandot. The first of the famed "The Three Tenors" concerts was held on the eve of the final match of the tournament; Pavarotti performed together with fellow star tenors Plácido Domingo and José Carreras, and brought hits previously confined to the opera world to a much wider audience. He further widened his influence with appearances in advertisements and concerts with pop icons around the world. Unlike many crossover artists, Pavarotti always maintained his identity as an opera star. His later years saw a significant decline in his ability to perform on the stage, due to weight gain and lack of mobility, and his final performance in an opera was at the Met in New York in March 2004.