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Luciano Pavarotti

Luciano Pavarotti was an Italian operatic tenor who crossed over into popular music becoming one of the most commercially successful tenors of all time. He made numerous recordings of complete operas and individual arias, gaining worldwide fame for the quality of his tone, established himself as one of the finest tenors of the 20th century, achieving the honorific title "King of the High Cs"; as one of the Three Tenors who performed their first concert during the 1990 FIFA World Cup before a global audience, Pavarotti became well known for his televised concerts and media appearances. From the beginning of his professional career as a tenor in 1961 in Italy to his final performance of "Nessun dorma" at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Pavarotti was at his best in bel canto operas, pre-Aida Verdi roles, Puccini works such as La bohème, Tosca and Madama Butterfly, he sold over 100 million records, the first Three Tenors recording became the best-selling classical album of all time. Pavarotti was noted for his charity work on behalf of refugees and the Red Cross, amongst others.

He died from pancreatic cancer on 6 September 2007. Luciano Pavarotti was born in 1935 on the outskirts of Modena in Northern Italy, the son of Fernando Pavarotti, a baker and amateur tenor, Adele Venturi, a cigar factory worker. Although he spoke fondly of his childhood, the family had little money. According to Pavarotti, his father had a fine tenor voice but rejected the possibility of a singing career because of nervousness. World War II forced the family out of the city in 1943. For the following year they rented a single room from a farmer in the neighbouring countryside, where the young Pavarotti developed an interest in farming. After abandoning the dream of becoming a football goalkeeper, Pavarotti spent seven years in vocal training. Pavarotti's earliest musical influences were his father's recordings, most of them featuring the popular tenors of the day—Beniamino Gigli, Giovanni Martinelli, Tito Schipa, Enrico Caruso. Pavarotti's favourite tenor and idol was Giuseppe Di Stefano and he was deeply influenced by Mario Lanza, saying: "In my teens I used to go to Mario Lanza movies and come home and imitate him in the mirror".

At around the age of nine he began singing with his father in a small local church choir. After what appears to have been a normal childhood with a typical interest in sports—in Pavarotti's case football above all, he graduated from the Scuola Magistrale and faced the dilemma of a career choice, he was interested in pursuing a career as a professional football goalkeeper, but his mother convinced him to train as a teacher. He subsequently taught in an elementary school for two years but allowed his interest in music to win out. Recognising the risk involved, his father gave his consent only reluctantly. Pavarotti began the serious study of music in 1954 at the age of 19 with Arrigo Pola, a respected teacher and professional tenor in Modena who offered to teach him without remuneration. According to conductor Richard Bonynge, Pavarotti never learned to read music. In 1955, he experienced his first singing success when he was a member of the Corale Rossini, a male voice choir from Modena that included his father, which won first prize at the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales.

He said that this was the most important experience of his life, that it inspired him to become a professional singer. At about this time Pavarotti first met Adua Veroni, they married in 1961. When his teacher Arrigo Pola moved to Japan, Pavarotti became a student of Ettore Campogalliani, who at that time was teaching Pavarotti's childhood friend, Mirella Freni, whose mother worked with Luciano's mother in the cigar factory. Like Pavarotti, Freni went on to become a successful opera singer. During his years of musical study, Pavarotti held part-time jobs in order to sustain himself—first as an elementary school teacher and as an insurance salesman; the first six years of study resulted all in small towns and without pay. When a nodule developed on his vocal cords, causing a "disastrous" concert in Ferrara, he decided to give up singing. Pavarotti attributed his immediate improvement to the psychological release connected with this decision. Whatever the reason, the nodule not only disappeared but, as he related in his autobiography: "Everything I had learned came together with my natural voice to make the sound I had been struggling so hard to achieve".

Pavarotti began his career as a tenor in smaller regional Italian opera houses, making his debut as Rodolfo in La bohème at the Teatro Municipale in Reggio Emilia in April 1961. His first known recording of "Che gelida manina" was recorded during this performance, he made his first international appearance in La traviata in Yugoslavia. Early in his career, on 23 February 1963, he debuted at the Vienna State Opera in the same role. In March and April 1963 Vienna saw Pavarotti again as Duca di Mantova in Rigoletto; the same year saw his first concert outside Italy when he sang in Dundalk, Ireland for the St Cecilia's Gramophone Society and his Royal Opera House debut, where he replaced an indisposed Giuseppe Di Stefano as Rodolfo. While successful, Pavarotti's early roles did not propel him into the stardom that he would enjoy. An early coup involved his connection with Joan Sutherland, who in 1963 had sought a young tenor taller than herself to take along on her tour to Australia. With his commanding physi

Jan Keizer (singer)

Jan Keizer is a Dutch singer and composer, best known as one of the singers of the popband BZN. Keizer began his career in music as a drummer with the band Empty Hearts, which he renamed the Q-tips two years after the main guitar player left, turned it into a close-harmony band. By the late 1960s Keizer joined BZN to replace Jaap Sombroek; when the band's lead singer, Jan Veerman, left in 1974 Keizer replaced him. In 2007, he disbanded BZN. In 2008, he released another solo album Give me your smile, his sixth solo album Chords of Life was released in 2009. In January 2010, he was on the jury for the TROS singing competition Sterren.nl Academy. Since Keizer has reunited with BZN's original female vocalist Anny Schilder. Jan Keizer profile at the BZN Online

Blue-ringed octopus

Blue-ringed octopuses, comprising the genus Hapalochlaena, are four venomous species of octopus that are found in tide pools and coral reefs in the Pacific and Indian oceans, from Japan to Australia. They can be identified by their yellowish skin and characteristic blue and black rings that change color when the animal is threatened, they eat small crustaceans, including crabs, hermit crabs and other small animals. They are recognized as one of the world's most venomous marine animals. Despite their small size—12 to 20 cm —and docile nature, they are dangerous to humans if provoked and handled because of their venom, which contains the powerful neurotoxin tetrodotoxin; the species tend to have a lifespan of two years. This can vary depending on factors such as nutrition and the intensity of light in its habitat; the genus was described by British zoologist Guy Coburn Robson in 1929. There are four confirmed species of Hapalochlaena, six possible but still undescribed species being researched: Greater blue-ringed octopus Southern blue-ringed octopus or lesser blue-ringed octopus Blue-lined octopus Hapalochlaena nierstraszi was documented and described in 1938 from a single specimen found in the Bay of Bengal, with a second specimen caught and described in 2013.

Blue-ringed octopuses spend most of their time hiding in crevices while displaying effective camouflage patterns with their dermal chromatophore cells. Like all octopuses, they can change shape which helps them to squeeze into crevices much smaller than themselves. This, along with piling up rocks outside the entrance to its lair, helps safeguard the octopus from predators. If they are provoked, they change color, becoming bright yellow with each of the 50-60 rings flashing bright iridescent blue within a third of a second as an aposematic warning display. In the greater blue-ringed octopus, the rings contain multi-layer light reflectors called iridophores; these are arranged to reflect blue–green light in a wide viewing direction. Beneath and around each ring there are dark pigmented chromatophores which can be expanded within 1 second to enhance the contrast of the rings. There are no chromatophores above the ring, unusual for cephalopods as they use chromatophores to cover or spectrally modify iridescence.

The fast flashes of the blue rings are achieved using muscles. Under normal circumstances, each ring is hidden by contraction of muscles above the iridophores; when these relax and muscles outside the ring contract, the iridescence is exposed thereby revealing the blue color. In common with other Octopoda, the blue-ringed octopus swims by expelling water from a funnel in a form of jet propulsion; the blue-ringed octopus diet consists of small crabs and shrimp. They tend to take advantage of small injured fish if they can catch them; the blue-ringed octopus pounces on its prey, seizing it with its arms and pulling it towards its mouth. It uses its horny beak to pierce through the tough shrimp exoskeleton, releasing its venom; the venom paralyzes the muscles required for movement, which kills the prey. The mating ritual for the blue-ringed octopus begins when a male approaches a female and begins to caress her with his modified arm, the hectocotylus. A male mates with a female by grabbing her, which sometimes obscures the female's vision transferring sperm packets by inserting his hectocotylus into her mantle cavity repeatedly.

Mating continues until the female has had enough, in at least one species the female has to remove the over-enthusiastic male by force. Males will attempt copulation with members of their own species regardless of sex or size, but interactions between males are most shorter in duration and end with the mounting octopus withdrawing the hectocotylus without packet insertion or struggle. Blue-ringed octopus females lay only one clutch of about 50 eggs in their lifetimes towards the end of autumn. Eggs are laid incubated underneath the female's arms for about six months, during this process she does not eat. After the eggs hatch, the female dies, the new offspring will reach maturity and be able to mate by the next year; the blue-ringed octopus, despite its small size, carries enough venom to kill 26 adult humans within minutes. Their bites are tiny and painless, with many victims not realizing they have been envenomated until respiratory depression and paralysis start to set in. No blue-ringed octopus antivenom is available.

The octopus produces venom containing tetrodotoxin, tryptamine, taurine and dopamine. The venom can result in nausea, respiratory arrest, heart failure and sometimes total paralysis and can lead to death within minutes if not treated. Death is from suffocation due to paralysis of the diaphragm; the major neurotoxin component of the blue-ringed octopus is a compound, known as maculotoxin but was found to be identical to tetrodotoxin, a neurotoxin found in pufferfish, in some poison dart frogs. Tetrodotoxin is 1,200 times more toxic than cyanide. Tetrodotoxin blocks sodium channels, causing motor paralysis, respiratory arrest within minutes of exposure; the tetrodotoxin is produced by bacteria in the salivary glands of the octopus. Direct contact is necessary to be envenomated. Faced with danger, the octopus's first instinct is to flee. If the threat persists, the octopus will go into a defensive stance, show its blue rings. If the octopus is cornered, touched, the person would be in danger of being bitten and envenomated.

Tetrodotoxin can be found in nearl