ROME - Luciano
Pavarotti, in severe pain months before his cancer diagnosis,
lip-synched his last performance, according to the maestro who
conducted the aria at the opening ceremony of the Turin Olympics.
The late tenor's manager said Monday the bitter cold made a live performance impossible at the 2006 Winter Games.
conductor, Leone Magiera, reveals in a book that the rousing rendition
of "Nessun Dorma" ("Let No One Sleep") was prerecorded because "it
would have been too dangerous for him to give a live performance in
that physical condition."
Magiera, who worked with Pavarotti for
years, said the tenor was suffering from sharp pains months before
being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was using a wheelchair.
Pavarotti died in September 2007. He was 71.
pretended to play for the public there, I pretended to conduct and
Luciano pretended to sing," Magiera writes in "Pavarotti Visto Da
Vicino" ("Pavarotti Seen From Close Up"), which was published last
month. "It came off beautifully, no one was aware of the technical
Pavarotti recorded the famed aria from Puccini's
"Turandot" in a studio in his hometown of Modena a few days before his
February appearance in Turin, Magiera said. The orchestra prerecorded
its part separately.
"His voice was nearly intact," Magiera
recalls in the book, published by Ricordi. "He found the strength to
repeat it until he was completely satisfied. Then, he fell back on his
wheelchair and closed his eyes, exhausted."
Magiera did not elaborate on why Pavarotti was using a wheelchair. He stood during the Turin performance.
former manager, Terri Robson, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press
that the decision lip-synch was made because of the cold during the
outdoor evening event.
The singer was diagnosed with pancreatic
cancer in the summer of 2006 as he was preparing to leave New York to
resume a farewell tour. Pavarotti underwent surgery in New York in
early July, and his remaining 2006 concerts were cancelled.
that year, Pavarotti postponed five June dates because of what was
described as complications from back surgery. He cancelled eight
concerts in April, saying he had been advised not to travel or perform
while undergoing back treatment.
Robson said the tenor's voice
was "in great shape ... but because of the extreme late-night
temperature in Turin in February, for both him and the orchestra, it
was decided that the only way to make it work was for him to
Pavarotti lip-synched a performance in 1992 in Modena, drawing heavy criticism.
charismatic persona, ebullient showmanship, and powerful voice made him
the most beloved and celebrated tenor since the great Caruso and one of
the few opera singers to win crossover fame as a popular superstar.
appeared in television commercials and sang in hugely lucrative
mega-concerts outdoors and in stadiums around the world, also mingling
with pop stars in his series of charity concerts, "Pavarotti &