Great Performances Features Legendary Tenor, Pavarotti

Press Release

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 - 7:00pm

On the 50th anniversary of the late tenor’s career debut as Rodolfo in La Boheme, Great Performances celebrates one of opera’s most cherished voices. The special airs  Saturday, November 30 at 7:00 p.m. on KUED.

Quickly establishing his trademark rich sound as the great male operatic voice of the 20th century, Luciano Pavarotti expanded his reach to stadium concerts and pop collaborations that brought him international fame. Half a million people flocked to hear him in Central Park and millions worldwide watched on television. Pavarotti brought opera to the masses and made even football fans fall in love with “Nessun Dorma.”

This one-hour special includes “Nessun Dorma” as well as beloved arias from La Boheme, Rigoletto and Aida. Also featured are “Mamma,” and “O Sole Mio,” “Ave Maria” and “O Holy Night,” as well as popular duets with Bono, Sting and Eric Clapton.

The program includes 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.  

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.  

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)

“la Danza”



Last modified: 
Friday, November 1, 2013 - 2:45pm