Luciano was born in 1935 on the outskirts of Modena in Northern Italy, the son of Fernando Pavarotti, a baker and amateur tenor, and Adele Venturi, a cigar factory worker. Although he spoke fondly of his childhood, the family had little money; its four members were crowded into a two-room apartment. His father had a fine tenor voice rejected the possibility of a singing career himself because of a problem with nervousness. World War II forced the family out of the city in 1943. For the following year they rented a single room from a farmer in the neighboring countryside, where the young Luciano developed an interest in farming.
Luciano’s earliest musical influences were his father’s recordings, most of them featuring the popular tenors of the day – but he was also deeply influenced by Mario Lanza, saying: “In my teens I used to go to Mario Lanza movies and then come home and imitate him in the mirror”. At around the age of nine he began singing with his father in a small local church choir.
He began the serious study of music in 1954 at the age of 19 with Arrigo Pola, a respected teacher and professional tenor in Modena who offered to teach him without remuneration.
When his teacher Arrigo Pola moved to Japan, Pavarotti became a student of Ettore Campogalliani, who at that time was also teaching Pavarotti’s childhood friend, Mirella Freni, whose mother worked with Luciano’s mother in the cigar factory. Like Pavarotti, Freni was destined to operatic greatness; they were to share the stage many times and make memorable recordings together.
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“I’m not a politician, I’m a musician. I care about giving people a place where they can go to enjoy themselves and to begin to live again. To the man you have to give the spirit, and when you give him the spirit, you have done everything.” – Luciano Pavarotti