I first heard Luciano Pavarotti sing Nessun Dorma in the early 80's in Chicago. His concert in a major hall had been cancelled because of a snow storm. The make-up performance in early spring was in a more intimate space; Linda invited me to join her as a substitute for a friend who was not free the new date. I was transported.
I heard Pavarotti sing the great aria twice at the Met. The first time was thrilling. The second time was a bit tense. By that point, the peerless tenor of his day was having serious health problems. His legs had given out. He took a position on the stage and didn't move. He was clearly holding back early in the opera. But when it came time to sing Nessun Dorma, he reached down deep into his body and his soul to deliver a performance more beautiful than ever.
I am so lucky to have heard him in person. Now I listen to the CD. I am still transported.