Pavarotti was born in Modena, Italy. His made his operatic debut on April 29, 1961, as Rodolfo in La Bohčme, at the opera house in Reggio Emilia. His American debut came in February 1965, in Lucia di Lammermoor with Joan Sutherland in Miami.
However, his major breakthrough came on February 17, 1972, in a production of Donizetti's La Fille du Regiment at New York's Metropolitan Opera, in which he drove the crowd into a frenzy with his nine effortless high Cs in the signature aria.
Pavarotti became a household name through frequent television performances, such Rodolfo in the first Live from the Met telecast in March of 1977, which attracted one of the largest audiences ever for a televised opera.
In the 1990s, Pavarotti became famous for his huge outdoor concerts. His televised concert in London's Hyde Park was the first concert in the history of the park featuring classical music and drew a record attendance of some 150,000 people. In June 1993, more than 500,000 gathered for his performance on the Great Lawn of New York's Central Park, while millions more around the world watched on television. The following September in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, he sang for an estimated crowd of 300,000. The most famous of these, however, have been the Three Tenor concerts, bringing Pavarotti together with the other two famous tenors, José Carreras and Plácido Domingo.
He received Kennedy Center Honors in 2001.