When Luciano Pavarotti sang with his 88-year-old father in an emotional duet

10 January 2024, 15:15

Luciano and Fernando Pavarotti
Luciano and Fernando Pavarotti. Picture: Facebook / The Tenor / Rai Uno

By Kyle Macdonald

The touching moment when a father joined his son for a very special performance of a beloved sacred song.

When a former baker took to the stage with opera’s biggest star, it was a story about music spanning the generations.

Legendary tenor Luciano Pavarotti was born in 1935 in Modena, Northern Italy. His father, Fernando Pavarotti, was a baker, and his mother, Adele Venturi, a cigar factory worker.

Fernando Pavarotti was an amateur singer with a fine tenor voice. Years later, his son said Fernando had turned down the possibility of a singing career because of stage fright and nerves.

The family was poor in those early days, but his father’s passion for music opened a new world for his son. Luciano’s first encounters with singing and opera came from listening and singing along to his father’s collection of albums from the great tenors of the day.

Luciano Pavarotti went on to study singing and began singing opera roles in the 1960s. Legendary breakthroughs at the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden and New York’s Metropolitan Opera made him a huge star of the opera world.

A few years later, thanks to the 1990 Football World Cup in Italy, The Three Tenors, and his always-glistening high notes, he became a true household name.

But he never forgot where he came from, or his musical roots.

In 2001, 88-year-old amateur tenor Fernando joined his son for a duet. Together they sang César Franck’s ‘Panis Angelicus’ (watch below).

Read more: What are the lyrics to ‘Panis Angelicus’, and who wrote it?

Pavarotti sings with his 88 Year Old Dad.

When Pavarotti sang with his 88 Year Old Father on stage. The look in his eyes whilst singing with his father its one of sheer pride and love. What a glorious moment captured on film. 🥰

Posted by The Tenor on Sunday, September 19, 2021

Nearing 90 years of age, Fernando’s best singing voice may well have been behind him. But it’s the looks of love and pride between the two of them that make this a very special moment of music.

The pair have also duetted in previous years. Here’s another performance of the same sacred song, recorded in the cathedral of their home town in 1978 (watch below).

Panis Angelicus Luciano and Fernando Pavarotti (1978)

A baker who loved his music, and a tenor who changed the course of classical music. Two Pavarottis – bravo to you both.