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Remembering Luciano Pavarotti (and Friends)

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Luciano Pavarotti, opera’s greatest ambassador, passed away Thursday at the age of 71. As friends and performers pay tribute — like fellow tenor José Carreras, who said, “We have to remember him as the great artist that he was, the man with such a wonderful charismatic personality, very good friend and a great poker player” — I went to YouTube to relive some of his classic crossover collaborations. Sure, I found Bono dueting on “Ave Maria” and “Miserere” (and of course, “Miss Sarajevo”), but of all the clips I watched this morning, this one of Pavarotti singing “‘O Sole Mio” with Bryan Adams is my favorite. I think it’s because Adams’ constant grin conveys the glee and fear of I’m singing with Pavarotti! I’m singing with Pavarotti!, while Pavarotti’s warm smile (and bow to Adams mid-song) shows such genuine appreciation for his effort.

My second favorite clip has Michael Bolton taking lead on Pavarotti’s signature aria, “Nessun Dorma.” Not only does the maestro give Bolton a visual thumbs up, he also grants him the final vincero. If you watch carefully, you can see Bono, who is also onstage, clapping as Bolton holds the note. A pleasantly-surprised Simon LeBon applauds him, as well.

After the jump, some other great — and unlikely — Pavarotti duets.

Some other duets you might want to check out: Pavarotti with LeBon, with James Brown, with Barry White, and (really!) with the Spice Girls.