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Originally published Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Pavarotti's finale was lip-synched

Luciano Pavarotti, in severe pain months before his cancer diagnosis, lip-synched his last performance, according to the maestro who conducted...

The Associated Press

ROME — Luciano Pavarotti, in severe pain months before his cancer diagnosis, lip-synched his last performance, according to the maestro who conducted the aria at the opening ceremony of the Turin Olympics.

The late tenor's manager said Monday the bitter cold made a live performance impossible at the 2006 Winter Games.

The conductor, Leone Magiera, reveals in a book that the rousing rendition of "Nessun Dorma" ("Let No One Sleep") was prerecorded because "it would have been too dangerous for him to give a live performance in that physical condition."

Magiera, who worked with Pavarotti for years, said the tenor was suffering from sharp pains months before being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was using a wheelchair. Pavarotti died in September 2007. He was 71.

Pavarotti recorded the famed aria from Puccini's "Turandot" in a studio in his hometown of Modena a few days before his February appearance in Turin, Magiera said. The orchestra prerecorded its part separately.

Pavarotti's former manager, Terri Robson, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press that the decision to lip-sync was made because of the cold during the outdoor evening event.

The singer was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the summer of 2006 as he was preparing to leave New York to resume a farewell tour. Pavarotti underwent surgery in New York in early July, and his remaining 2006 concerts were canceled.

Pavarotti lip-synched a performance in 1992 in Modena, drawing heavy criticism.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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