Hundreds of people pay their respects as coffin arrives at his hometown.
Friends of Pavarotti performed the mass which was broadcast live on state television and the internet.
Raina Kabaivanska, the Bulgarian soprano, opened the service with Ave Maria from Verdi’s Otello. Andrea Bocelli, the blind Italian tenor, then sang Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus during the Eucharist.
The choir – Corale Rossini – was the same one in which both Pavarotti and his father once sang.
Pope Benedict XVI sent a message of condolence to the funeral, saying Pavarotti had “honoured the divine gift of music through his extraordinary interpretative talent”.
Thousands of people watched the service from a huge television screen erected in Modena’s main piazza, where a recording of the tenor’s most famous works had played during two days of public viewing.
|Italy’s air force precision flying team
flew over the cathedral [AFP]
At the end of the service, Italy’s air force precision flying team flew over the cathedral releasing red, white and green smoke, the colours of the Italian flag.
Admirers signed books of condolence outside the cathedral and the Italian foreign ministry said similar books would be available for well-wishers at embassies and consulates around the world.
After an operation for pancreatic cancer in July last year, Pavarotti had hoped to complete a farewell world tour but he died on Thursday at the age of 71.
Pavarotti shot to fame as an understudy in a performance of La Boheme at London’s Covent Garden in 1963.
The celebrities with whom Pavarotti worked over the years were expected to be invited to a memorial charity event in the coming months, Pavarotti’s manager, Terri Robson, said.