When he died of pancreatic cancer in 2007, Luciano Pavarotti was the most commercially successful opera singer of all time, with the Guinness world record for curtain calls (165) and an estate rumored by the Italian media to be worth $275 million.
But the settlement of that estate was not as smooth as his tenor. A media-generated Sturm und Drang pitted the tenor’s widow, Nicoletta Mantovani, against his three adult daughters from his previous marriage. His estate, whatever the accurate amount, was divided between his four daughters (he has one daughter with Ms. Mantovani) and his widow. Her share included three apartments at Central Park South’s impossibly swanky Hampshire House co-op.
On the path to this settlement, the media discovered that Pavarotti made two wills in his final months, spurring rumors regarding the content of the second one issued six weeks after the first. According to Ms. Mantovani’s lawyer, the second will was simply an addendum to the first, which divided assets according to Italian law. The second dealt with the tenor’s U.S. holdings, including entrusting those Manhattan apartments to his widow.
According to sources, Ms. Mantovani currently resides in one of the apartments with the couple’s young daughter.
The wills were made public to vindicate Ms. Mantovani amid the media’s accusations that Pavarotti had tried to alter his will to her detriment and that there was bad blood between his three daughters and their stepmother—all of which proved to be untrue. (Ah, the media.)
Now, according to sources with intimate knowledge of the building, Ms. Mantovani is hoping to unload one of the three combined apartments on the 23rd floor; it, unfortunately, has southern rather than park-facing views. The suite of combined apartments wraps around the rear southern corner of the exclusive co-op, which boasts hotel-style amenities including concierge services and the luxe Exhale health and fitness club.
The one-bedroom apartment, which has not yet been formally listed, is being offered first to insiders for $1.5 million.