As a young opera singer, I was snobbish about the Three Tenors – but a legendary Pavarotti performance made me realise that the key wasn’t vocal pyrotechnics, but emotional connection

The iconic tenor of my lifetime – and in terms of sheer voice, the very best – was Luciano Pavarotti. I only heard him once in the flesh, in a production of Verdi’s La Forza del Destino at London’s Royal Opera House. His interest in the stage action was limited, but his vocal resources were only marginally depleted after decades of shining high Cs, and I felt the magic.

What had propelled Pavarotti into the stratosphere of international celebrity was a celebratory event at the 1990 World Cup in the Baths of Caracalla in Rome: the famous Three Tenors concert in which he sang Puccini’s aria from Turandot, Nessun Dorma, with its climactic high B on the word “vincero” – “I will win”.

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