Leaders of Italian government, business and the arts continued to pay homage today for opera legend Luciano Pavarotti, who passed away yesterday morning.

Italy's head of state, President Giorgio Napolitano, said that Pavarotti "managed to transmit Italy's temperament and human warmth to the rest of the world," while prime minister Romano Prodi called him "extraordinary, he touched the world's heart."

Fellow artists also paid tribute. Zucchero, who dueted with him in the annual "Pavarotti & Friends" charity concerts, told the national daily Corriere della Sera: "He had a great ability to communicate with the masses. He used his fame, fascination and talent in order to bring
together the planet's finest pop and rock stars for a charitable cause. In addition to being a great tenor, he was a good and simple man. It was actually quite an effort for him to pick up the phone and try and persuade people like Bono and Elton John to come and join him in singing for a worthy cause."

Pavarotti's simplicity was also noted by the conductor Riccardo Muti, the former director of Milan's La Scala opera house. He told Corriere della Sera: "He was generous. In 1995 I asked him to come to Forlì (a town in Pavarotti's native Emilia Romagna region) and sing at a simple charity concert in which I was to accompany him on the piano. He flew in from the States at very short notice, at his own expense."

As for Pavarotti's talent as a singer, Muti said: "God gives us an amazing voice like that about once a century. And when it comes to singers who have such a personal style that you can recognize them after a couple of notes, well I can think of Maria Callas, Renata Tebaldi and Luciano Pavarotti."


Read more of Billboard’s extensive coverage of opera great Luciano Pavarotti’s life and influence on the music world, including an in-depth look at how his passing will impact all of classical music.

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