Luciano Pavarotti/

For me, music making is the most joyful activity possible, the most perfect expression of any emotion

Pavarotti was the most famous of the Three Tenors. Together with Spanish opera singers Plácido Domingo and José Carreras, they became operatic superstars in the 1990s and 2000s

The son of a baker, Luciano was born in Italy and initially dreamed of becoming an international football player. He soon abandoned this idea, growing up to take jobs as a salesman and as a teacher as he worked on building a singing career. Fame and fortune came slowly, but by the 1970s and 1980s, Pavarotti, by now a large, distinctive, cheerful-looking man with a black beard became more and more successful.

The use of his powerful rendition of Nessun Dorma from Puccini’s Turandot in conjunction with the 1990 Italy FIFA Football World Cup boosted Pavarotti’s level of stardom to new levels. Pavarotti and his music became well known amongst people who had never before shown any interest in opera: an almost unique achievement in a stunning career.