Pavarotti made his operatic debut on April 29, 1961, as Rodolfo in La Boheme by Giacomo Puccini, at the opera house in Reggio Emilia. In the following years he relied on the professional advise from tenor Giuseppe Di Stefano, who prevented Pavarotti from appearances when his voice was not ready yet. Eventually Pavarotti stepped in for Di Stefano in 1963, at the Royal Opera House in London as 'Rodolfo' in La Boheme by Giacomo Puccini, making his international debut. That same year he met soprano Joan Sutherland and the two began one of the most legendary partnerships in vocal history; Pavarotti made his American debut opposite Sutherland in February of 1965, in Miami Opera.
Pavarotti was blessed with a voice of a rare range, beauty and clarity, which was best during the 60s, 70s and 80s. In 1966 he became the first opera tenor to hit all nine "high C's" with his full voice in the aria 'Quel destin' in 'La Fille du Regiment' (aka.. The Daughter of the Regiment) by Gaetano Donizetti. He repeated this feat in his legendary 1972 Met performance and was nicknamed "King of the High C's" in rave reviews. Pavarotti's popularity was arguably bigger than that of any other living tenor in the world. His 1993 live performance in the New York's Central Park was attended by 500,000 fans while millions watched it on television. During the 1990s and 2000s Pavarotti was still showing his ability to deliver his clear ringing tone in the higher register, albeit in fewer performances.
Luciano Pavarotti was known for his humanitarian work. He was the founder and the host of the 'Pavarotti & Friends' annual charity concerts and related activities in Modena, Italy. There he sang with international stars of all styles to raise funds for several worthy UN causes. Pavarotti sang with Bono and U2 in the 1995 song Miss Sarajevo and raised $1,500,000 in his charity project 'Concert for Bosnia'. He also established and financed the Pavarotti Music Center in Bosnia, and raised funds in charity concerts for refugees from Afghanistan and for refugees from Kosovo. Pavarotti made two Guinness World Records: one was for receiving the most curtain calls at 165; and the other was for the best selling classical album of 'The Three Tenors in Concert' with Plácido Domingo and José Carreras.
In March 2004 Pavarotti gave his last performance in an opera as the painter Mario Cavaradossi in Giacomo Puccini's 'Tosca' at the New York Metropolitan Opera. In 2005 Luciano Pavarotti started a 40 city farewell tour. He sang his signature aria 'Nessun Dorma' from 'Turandot' by Giacomo Puccini, at the 2006 Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Turin, Italy, on February 10, 2006. Pavarotti survived an emergency surgery for pancreatic cancer. His remaining appearances for 2006 have been canceled. However, his management anticipated that his farewell tour would resume in 2007.
Luciano Pavarotti died of kidney failure on September 6, 2007, at home in Modena, Italy, where he was surrounded by his family. He was laid to rest with his parents in the family tomb in Montale Rangone cemetery near Modena. His funeral ceremony in Modena was an international event attended by celebrities and over fifty thousand music lovers from all over the world.