Luciano Pavarotti succumbed to pancreatic cancer a couple of days ago. I posted on Mr. Pavarotti’s condition a few months ago and feared the worst. It’s difficult to come back from pancreatic cancer.
The world of opera has lost a true giant. Probably no one since Enrico Caruso has so electrified audiences the world over. He will be missed.
(Link to the LA Times obituary for a mini biography of Mr. Pavarotti.)
Here he is singing what had become his signature piece: Nessum Dorma from Puccini’s Turandot.
To see just how good Pavarotti was, go back and compare his singing of Nessum Dorma to that of Paul Potts, the Welsh car phone salesman who won it all on Britian’s Got Talent. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not demeaning Mr. Potts or his considerable talent. I mean this is Pavarotti, after all, that we’re comparing him to, so it’s no wonder that Mr. Potts comes up a little short.


  1. I’m 23, and I watched him sing this song on TV at the 2006 Torino Olympics and it was really my first time listening to him sing an opera song (I had known of him for a long time, though). Luckily, I had watched it on my TiVo, and hearing him sing this song literally (and continues to) sends shivers down my spine. I remember watching him sing it over and over again on my TiVo just so mesmerized by the song. How I wish I could have been there. How I wish I could have seen him live one time in my life. How I wish others could have recognized his magnificence as much as I did, even if for one time.
    He was pretty spectacular.

    1. The 2006 Torino was actually his very last performance before his death. He was already weakened and sang in a lowered key. If you think he was good in that state, go listen to him in his prime on youtube.

  2. I don’t think it was Paul Pott’s idea to record Nessum Dorma with Luciano Pavarotti. Maesto Pavarotti was Paul’s idol. There will never be another Pavarotti! I was happy for Paul Potts’ winning Britain’s Got Talent Show and I wish him luck with his new career. Also, Paul needs more lessons in singing opera. I hope he has a teacher.

  3. I’m not much for opera but Pavarotti was indeed spectacular. I would never tire of listening to him sing. His passing is indeed the world’s loss.

  4. Hi Mike,
    On of the things Paul Potts got as a result of winning the competition was a recording contract which is exactly what he does not need. If he accepts that contract, he will always be known as a phenomenon and never as an operatic tenor; He’ll be trading a lifetime of renown for fifteen minutes of fame. What he should have received was a four year scholarship to a music academy where he can nurture his incredible talent
    So it seems we share a passion for opera. How Nice
    Chuck Berezin
    Hi Chuck–
    We do indeed share the passion.

  5. Eulogy for Luciano Pavarotti
    I sorrow over this great artist’s death.
    Listening to him throughout my life gave me the impetus to move forward in my career as a vocal coach. His life has been a great music lesson to me.
    His curious combination of human depth, child-like innocence and unpretentiousness brought him to the position of being one of the greatest artists who ever lived; for, since his beginnings, he kept himself in tune with the universal chord of life-love-light that forever embraces all humanity.
    Yes, he is gone. But ultimately he won the game of life; for his artistic contributions have won for him a position in the hierarchy of the universe.

  6. Hi Dr. Mike,
    I listened to both clips, Pavarotti and Potts. Both were magnificent!! Pavarotti had a
    stronger, more steady voice, but Potts has more emotional expression.
    Pavarotti is to admire; Potts is to cry for.

  7. If Potts goes to music school he’ll be a cellphone salesman until the day he dies.
    There is such a thing as ‘striking while the iron is hot.’

  8. “Mezzo-soprano Ceclia Bartoli recalled the first time she heard Pavarotti sing, many years ago, at the Metropolitan Opera House. “I said to myself: ‘God does exist,'” Bartoli was quoted”
    I guess you could say that I am an opera fan like one who says they are a basketball fan and secretly just wishes to see Michael Jordan perform his magic. I love the music but have never been to an opera. So, I guess I am a fan of select arias. The other Two Tenors are very good, I really like Andre Bocelli and Sarah Brightman but….there is only one Luciano! Oh, to have seen him in person. Did you ever get to see him Dr. Mike?
    Unfortunately, no, I never saw him. If you like the arias, go to the opera. But go to good opera. Bad or mediocre opera is worse than no opera. Pick something light and melodic – La Boheme, for instance – and make sure the opera house has English subtitles displayed. You will have a great time. I guarantee.

  9. I guess no one else cares that he abandoned his wife of 34 years to run off with his secretary who was younger than his own daughters.
    Picasso was a total swine to all the women in his life, yet he was a genius. Same with Albert Einstein – he left his first wife, who was disabled. Bill Clinton, who, in the estimation of most, was a great president was (and probably still is) lecherous to the max and didn’t much care who knew it. George Bush, on the other hand, appears to be devoted to his wife of many years, yet he is still at the bottom of the polls, and his presidency is considered by many to have failed miserably. The point is that genius and ability often have no correlation with moral turpitude where sex and consideration for one’s partner are concerned. I appreciated Pavarotti for his magnificent voice (in its prime) as I do Picasso for his art – I don’t let the politics or sexual mores get in the way – those issues are between the genius and his/her conscience.

  10. Thank you for the remembrance of Mr. Pavarotti. I agree with you about the private lives of these individuals – it’s private, and something they must work out for themselves.
    Can you explain how pancreatic cancer and insulin are related? Is this cancer more prevalent in diabetics?
    Thanks again for posting this.
    Hi Jill–
    Here is a post on pancreatic cancer with some references to other posts on carbs and pancreatic cancer.

  11. While not a fan of opera, I can certainly appreciate the immense talent of this man! His voice is truly amazing.
    I also was wondering about the correlation of pancreatic cancer and diabetes – was Pavarotti a diabetic??
    I don’t know if he was diabetic or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he were. He was enormously overweight and a huge fan of carbs.
    I hated to see his passing.

  12. A friend of mine worked for a psychiatrist, who in his 30 year career bemoaned the fact that he had 2 suicides. He cared deeply and passionately for his patients, yet went through 6 divorces and left tea bags lying about the office for his receptionist to ferret out. Did his personal life and lack of ability to keep track of his teabags reflect on his giving his patients the treatment and care they deserved or that he felt they deserved? Definitely not.
    Luciano was human like all of us and had his failings but one. His voice.

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