It wasn't just the magnificent voice, he had a sweet soul to go with it. I read this story on Groklaw yesterday, and it is as beautiful to me as a song:
Wow you jogged the old cranium on this one...
Believe it or not I have met him as well, under extremely similar circumstances. I was working as an engineer for an AV company at the time and I was assigned to designing and final configuration of the sound system in that hall. It was put in specifically for him and was immensely complex, far past what was necessary for the day to day stuff the system would be used for. The College went all out, not because he requested it, but because WCSU wanted to give him a system that would be worthy of someone of his talent.
I spent 20 hour days, 6 days a week, for three weeks behind racks doing adjustments and setting EQ curves. The final 5% of the adjustments are always the worst, and cinder block walls and cement floor with thin carpeting made the acoustics....interesting (in the same way feeding X-lax to a dog makes a dog walk interesting). Compounding the issue was Mr Pavarotti's vast vocal range, forcing me to make adjustments in frequencies that are hardly ever used by the human voice (including rock concerts, and I have configured more than my share of those).
It was coming down to the wire and we were expecting him at any moment to go through his rehearsal. At this point I had not seen my family or my girlfriend for the past month, and I was voicing how much I was missing them to a co-worker when I feel a hand on my shoulder and a very warm voice say, "I can wait a few hours, go home and see your family."
Standing over me, with a warm smile on his face, was the man himself. After my heart went back to it's proper location (seeing as it jumped clear up to the top of my throat) I asked him if he was sure. He asked me how long I have been working on the system and how long have I been away from my family. After I told him, he playfully slapped me upside the head and told me to go home. He told me something that I will never forget. "Family is everything, there will always be more work."
Never have I been treated with more respect and treated more like a human being from a Star.
He left a lasting impression on me and my staff.
He will be dearly missed.