"As a television news reporter at a New York Times-owned CBS affiliate in the South, I was sent to profile the late, great Luciano Pavarotti in conjunction with the tenor's concert in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  My videographer and I managed to infiltrate Pavarotti's rehearsal with the orchestra and maestro Zubin Mehta.  I will never forget the moment the sound check started, with Pavarotti, in jeans and a sweater, opening his mouth and 'Oh! fede negar possi...' pouring out, the recitative to 'Quando le sere al placido' from Verdi's Luisa Miller.  We were not allowed to shoot footage during the performance proper, but Herbert Breslin, the tenor's then-manager, consented to let us film the encores, which included Lehár's "Dein ist mein ganzes Herz," sung in Italian as "Tu che m'hai preso il cuor."  Afterwards, we met Pavarotti backstage, which was a great thrill, given that my introduction to opera, at the age of 12, had been watching him on PBS' Great Performances.  When he died in September 2007, I wrote this commentary, "Pavarotti:  Opera's Gateway Drug," for Salon.com."  -- Richard Speer