The Post's Christopher Morley recalls the first time he saw Pavarotti perform and his first meeting with the legend.

My first experience of Luciano Pavarotti was at home watching television with Mum, Dad and my little brother in 1963.

We always watched ITV's live spectacular Sunday Night at the London Palladium, and tonight's was to be very special, with the Italian super-tenor Giuseppe di Stefano topping the bill.

Mum being Italian, this was extra-special for us. But, as he frequently did, di Stefano cancelled, and Bruce Forsyth introduced instead the singer's current understudy at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Luciano Pavarotti.

This slim, somewhat shy young man, enchanted us all with his ardent, lyrical voice, putting himself into the role of Rodolfo in Puccini's La Boheme as he sang Che gelida manina.

In the summer of the next year my school music-teacher took me to Glyndebourne for a costume rehearsal of Mozart's Idomeneo, an event which proved a turning-point in my life and set me towards a career in music.

Among the cast, playing the role of Idamante, was Pavarotti, his intense, committed presence a perfect foil for the more renowned singers in the cast (Richard Lewis, Gundula Janowitz).

Later he was to tell me: "They were very happy times."

Thanks to a huge extent to the interest shown in him by the great Australian soprano Joan Sutherland and her husband Richard Bonynge, Pavarotti's career took off in a big way after that.

When he came to Birmingham, a giant of a superstar, performing at the NEC (by this time his appearances were often gala concerts rather than straight operatic productions), I asked him if he would turn his attentions to conducting.

"No, I have no interest in doing that," he replied. "I intend to coach young singers, to pass on everything I've been so lucky to learn."

I heard him again at the NEC a few years later, when he returned to his signature-role of Rodolfo.

As the music approached its climax, a lurch in the orchestra signalled a downward transposition in the score, calculated to bring Pavarotti's crowd-pleasing top notes within easier reach.

It was a sad, significant moment.