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Opera Star Luciano Pavarotti To be Honored in Washington, D.C. at Largest Italian American Gala


Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or

(WASHINGTON, DC – September 9, 2004) Legendary tenor, Luciano Pavarotti is among the honorees at National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) 29th Anniversary Awards Gala, Saturday evening, October 16 at the Hilton Washington & Towers, Washington, D.C. The gala begins with a reception at 6 p.m. followed by dinner. Before more than 3,000 people, Pavarotti will be inducted into the NIAF Italian American Hall of Fame in Music.

Honorable Franco Frattini, Italy’s minister of foreign affairs, as well as actors Claudia Cardinale and Giancarlo Giannini will join Pavarotti at the NIAF gala, one of the premier annual events in the United States.

President George W. Bush, Senator John Kerry, members of the Italian American Congressional Delegation, and Italian American leaders in business, sports, government, entertainment and the arts are expected to attend the event. This year’s master of ceremonies is popular entertainer Tony Danza.

Honorees joining Pavarotti include: Tim McGraw, Grammy Award-winning country music star; Carmella LaSpada, founder of No Greater Love and executive director of The White House Commission on Remembrance; and Joseph J. Plumeri, chairman and CEO of Willis Holdings Group Limited. McGraw will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award in music. He will be accompanied by his wife, singer Faith Hill. LaSpada will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Humanitarian Service. Plumeri will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Business.

Pavarotti will be accepting the award as he begins his worldwide “Farewell Tour.” One of the world’s most popular classical recording artists, Pavarotti has been a household opera name for 40 years, and has won five Grammy awards. Born in Modena, Italy, he made his operatic debut in 1961 at the opera house in Reggio Emilia in “La Boheme.” His February 1972 performance in a production of “La Fille du Regiment” at New York’s Metropolitan Opera shot Pavarotti to international stardom. He continues to draw record-breaking crowds at sold-out concerts around the world.

Dinner tickets begin at $400 each. Proceeds to benefit the NIAF Scholarship and Education Programs. For tickets or sponsor information, contact: Bonni Cellini at 202/939-3114 or or register on-line at .

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC and dedicated to preserving the heritage of Italian Americans. Visit our website at: