Pavarotti receives standing ovation at funeral

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Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Cathedral at Modena
Image: Josh Petersen.

The family and friends of the world-famous opera singer Luciano Pavarotti have gathered in his hometown of Modena, Italy to pay their final respects. Pavarotti died on Thursday of complication from pancreatic cancer at the age of 71.

The Roman Catholic service at the cathedral in Modena was attended by such international stars as fellow tenors Plácido Domingo and José Carreras, as well as U2's Bono. It included Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus, Giuseppe Verdi's Ave Maria and a message of condolence from Pope Benedict XVI, who said Pavarotti had "honored the divine gift of music through his extraordinary interpretative talent".

At least 800 people were present in the cathedral, but thousands gathered outside to watch the service on a television screen placed in Modena's main square. The service was also shown on Italian state television and via the Internet.

A recording of Pavarotti's famous duet with his father in 1978 was played and prompted a standing ovation of the crowd inside and outside the cathedral, and Italy's air force gave a flyover releasing smoke in the colours of the Italian flag. It is estimated that over 100,000 people have seen Pavarotti's casket in the past two days, where it has been publicly displayed in Modena's main piazza, to many of Pavarotti's recordings and appearances shown on the public screen. Pavarotti will be buried in his family plot in a private ceremony at the Montale Rangone cemetery near Modena.

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