When Pavarotti Reigned as the Classical Crossover Duet King

Monday, October 17, 2016 - 12:00 AM

Luciano Pavarotti (photo edit by Mike Rinzel)

Luciano Pavarotti was the undisputed king of classical crossover. The late tenor was so popular and so admired in his day, that it seemed everyone on the music charts sang a duet with him. He was in such high demand, his booking agent probably had to have his own security detail.

In the 1990s Pavarotti brought opera and pop together in a way the world had never seen before. Many of the videos below are from his annual Pavarotti and Friends benefit concerts, which raised money for victims of war and violence in places like Bosnia, Guatemala, Kosovo and Iraq. He used his fame to help people in need, bringing some of the biggest stars in the world along to help.

One of the most beautiful of his duets was with diva Celine Dion.

And another with Mariah Carey.

And one with Stevie Wonder ... At about 5:30 the moment gets extra special.

Something a little more intimate with Joe Cocker.

He performed with a bunch of rock stars, too, like Jon Bon Jovi.

Bono, The Edge and Brian Eno.

And the guys from Queen.

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Comments [5]

Concetta Nardone from Nassau

Hi Carol,
Hope all is well. Yeah, Crossover. Sick of Pavarotti.
Another fine tenor was Nicolai Gedda.
They treat Luciano as if he were the second coming.
And now with Pledge Drive, we will be up to our armpits with Pavarotti. I pledge only because I am not a free-loader.
Best wishes

Oct. 18 2016 04:08 PM
Carol Luparella from Garfield, NJ

Hi Concetta!
WQXR seems to be promoting "Classical Crossover" music lately - is this where they are planning to go with their programming?

Oct. 18 2016 04:03 PM
Concetta Nardone from Nassau

THERE were and are other tenors out there. Bjoerling, DiStefano, Gigli,
Konya, etc. Enough already.

Oct. 18 2016 02:08 PM

You missed one of the most unusual crossovers--he once sang "It's a Man's World" with James Brown!

Oct. 18 2016 01:22 PM
Vivian Gast from Philadelpha PA

Thanks Mike. I didn't know any of this about Pavarotti... until now!

Oct. 17 2016 07:50 PM

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