When Pavarotti sang for Mario Lanza. Or not

When Pavarotti sang for Mario Lanza. Or not


norman lebrecht

December 27, 2020

Luciano was 9 years old and this was his first filmed performance.

Or so it says.

UPDATE: That’s the story, at any rate. The only problem is that Pavarotti was 15 when The Great Caruso was filmed in 1951 and the voice is not his. When I first saw the film, I thought the boy to the right of Mario Lanza bore a strong resemblance to the boy Luciano, but that, too, is wishful thinking.



  • Nijinsky says:

    If his wife isn’t still alive, I’d sure like a word with her.

  • George says:

    I thought it was Michael Collins with the voice of Jacqueline Allen.

    • Mike says:

      You’re exactly right. The boy featured isn’t Pavarotti, and anyone who says otherwise is talking absolute nonsense.

  • George says:

    PS: Sure it is Pavarotti? When The Great Caruso was filmed, he was 15-16 years old.

  • Hans says:

    Come on, Norman. This story was exposed as fake already a long time ago. They never met and the boy in the movie is called Michael Collins. But I agree, it would have been a heartwarming story.

  • Hadrian says:

    If you read the comments from the You Tube posting you will see: “…The duet is excellent! But whoever the boy singing in a duet with Lanza (either Michael Collins, or the voice of the soprano Jacqueline Allen sounds), he is not Luciano Pavarotti. In 1951 (when the film “GREAT CARUZO” was shot) Luciano Pavarotti was already at the age of 16 (!) Years …”

  • sam says:

    If this were a twitter post, Twitter would’ve slapped a “This claim is disputed” on it.

    There is considerable dispute that the boy was Pavarotti and/or not a dubbed voice.

    C’mon does he even LOOK or SOUND like Pavarotti? There is actual footage of young Pavarotti and he looks and sounds nothing like this.


    Pavarotti, maybe, but only as he would sound today.

  • Samuel Karlberg says:

    Pavarotti was an alto as a boy as most tenor voices.

  • Skip says:

    Mario lanza was the greatest

  • Salmon says:

    But it’s a lie, even you admit it so why publish it? Can’t be THAT hungry for content. That is embarrassing.

  • Jozef says:

    This is not Pavarotti, they never met!

  • Maravilloso Pavarotti !
    Su extraordinaria calidad interpretativa lo demostró hasta en su último CD
    Es irrepetible y el mejor !

  • Robert Harris says:

    Deffo mario growed up with this

  • Violin Accordion says:

    His first performance outside of Italy was at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod , in the choir with his father, 1955. They won ! He felt a great affinity with Wales , and frequently returned to perform there

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Lanza had a marvelous voice, which he could have used, if he chose to do so, to perform the great tenor roles in all the big opera houses worldwide.
    In fact, before Hollywood called, he sang much opera and appeared onstage as Pinkerton at the New Orleans Opera in a fully staged production of Madame Butterfly.
    Instead, he chose the path to Hollywood fame and fortune.
    It was Mario’s choice, but it’s a true tragedy for opera lovers.
    If you doubt that he could have been a major opera singer, get yourself a copy of “The Great Caruso” (RCA Victor 60049-2-RG), which collects 1950 excerpts from the movie soundtrack and a later 1959 session. You’ll see what I’m talking about.
    As for that being little Luciano in the movie? HAHAHAHA

  • Peter San Diego says:

    Se non e vero, e ben trovato…

  • Armando Cesari, author of Mario Lanza an American Tragedy says:

    That’s utterly ridiculous! Pavarotti, who was 15 years old at the time “The Great Caruso” was being filmed in 1950, was no-where near Los Angeles. The young boy who “sings” with Lanza is Michael Collins who was miming to the voice of soprano Jacqueline Allen.

  • JGee says:

    Loved that movie. I was 6 years old.

  • Linda Maria says:

    Oh, how beautiful and inspiring! Even if the young boy soprano was not Pavarotti! Thanks so much! Wish our despicably poor American culture would have greater respect and appreciation for fine artistic talent!