Aretha Franklin was popularly known for her powerful voice and soul singles like “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” and more, but little did her newer fans know that she could also sing opera.
The Queen of Soul once saved the Grammy Awards after Luciano Pavarotti canceled his performance last minute; how did the sudden change of genres happen?
According to My Modern Met, the famed Opera singer was supposed to perform the song “Nessun Dorma” at the 1998 Grammy Awards at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The track was from Puccini’s opera “Turandot.”
Pavarotti first sang the track during the 1990 FIFA World Cup and became synonymous with victory. He’s been performing the song ever since.
However, the Italian operatic tenor had to cancel his appearance at the last minute. This led showrunners and production staff to immediately look for a replacement.
Since Pavarotti was one of the headlining acts of the evening, they had to scout for someone who also has a legendary status.
Producer Ken Ehrlich had an idea as he remembered Aretha Franklin sing the same song at a gala as a tribute to the Italian singer.
Fortunately, the Queen of Soul agreed to perform and got a standing ovation from the crowd.
The outlet explained that Pavarotti “fell ill” before his performance, leading Franklin to take his place at the last minute.
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Luciano Pavarotti, Aretha Franklin’s Death
According to Smooth Radio, Pavarotti was on an international tour when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
He underwent major surgery but unfortunately died at his home on September 6, 2007. The legendary operatic singer was 71 at the time of his death.
His manager, Terri Robson, issued a statement, saying the singer fought a “long, tough battle against pancreatic cancer which eventually took his life.”
He added that Pavarotti “remained positive” until he succumbed to the last stages of his medical condition.
On the other hand, Aretha Franklin also died of the same illness. She passed away in 2018 at her home in Detroit while being surrounded by her family and friends.
The soul singer’s cancer was reportedly the “neuroendocrine type” which was confirmed by her doctor, Dr. Philip Phillips.
Following her death, many fans and celebrities paid tribute to the singer.
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