Ron Howard will explore the life of the cherished, larger than life tenor in a new documentary.

Following the success of his documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years, Ron Howard will next explore the life of legendary tenor Luciano Pavarotti.

“I didn’t know that much about opera, but always found Pavarotti a charismatic figure, whom I’d met in the ‘80s. Like with many people, he was my introduction to opera as something that was accessible, moving and emotional. Probably the only opera albums I bought were by Pavarotti. One of the pleasing things about The Beatles documentary was the opportunity to tell a compelling single viewing experience that honoured and respected in an authentic way those who really knew their story and understood the nuances of the music and individuals, while heightening the curiosity of people who thought they knew The Beatles but really didn’t have any idea of the depth and power of their story. I hope to do the same here”, Howard told Deadline.

“He has been vastly documented and recorded enough that even though he’s not with us, we’re going to be able to allow Pavarotti to tell his own story”, Howard added. “I am now going to school on this. For instance, I had no idea what a physical feat it is to generate those sounds, especially night in and night out. It is the function of years of dedicated training and a commitment to turn your body into that kind of instrument. It’s not just a matter of some people having a good set of pipes and others don’t”.

“He struggled well into his 20s and was not any kind of prodigy. He emerged slowly but surely, gained his acclaim, and maintained it with a kind of athleticism I don’t think most of us understand is required to sing and perform at that level. He didn’t care much for money, but used his fame to become this ambassador for humanity because of the hardship he’d seen as a young man, and to expand the reach of opera. He took the unprecedented step of performing with the greatest pop stars of his era. It was controversial among opera purists but he took the chance because what was most important to him was that more people understood the power of opera and what it could mean to the heart and the mind. I hope the film can continue that effort”.

Universal Music Group first approached Nigel Sinclair, a producer on the project, about doing a documentary on the star, with the late singer’s family giving the idea their full support. According to Sinclair, “the estate wanted his whole story told, they trusted Ron [Howard]”.

“Pavarotti’s humble beginnings – the son of a baker, who grew up in a small town in Italy, and grew up to be one of the most acclaimed high classical artists in human history – is a truly powerful and life-affirming tale”, Sinclair said.

The documentary is expected to be released next year.