The Italian Almanac

Luciano Pavarotti

Italian News - February 9

Opera star Luciano Pavarotti will sing at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics. Pavarotti's spokeswoman, Renata Meroni, gave no other details Wednesday about the 70-year-old Italian tenor's appearance. The singer, who had an operation in March to repair two vertebrae, has recently been on a farewell tour that is expected to last several years.

The opening ceremony will begin at 8 p.m. (Italian time) Friday and is to last 2 1/2 hours -- perhaps more depending on the length of the parade of nations. It will be held in the renovated 35,000-capacity Stadio Comunale and broadcast live worldwide on television.

The ceremony is also expected to include futuristic performers zipping around on roller blades with flames shooting from the back of their helmets. The show will be produced by Marco Balich, who is a veteran of U2, Pink Floyd and Whitney Houston concerts. There also will be the usual acrobatics and fireworks. In a break from past Winter Games, however, no ice will be used.

Pavarotti has been associated with major international sporting events in the past.