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.
"The orchestra pretended to play for the public there, I pretended to conduct and Luciano pretended to sing," Magiera writes in "Pavarotti Visto Da Vicino" ("Pavarotti Seen From Close Up"), which was published last month. "It came off beautifully, no one was aware of the technical tricks."
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.