He habitually went onstage with a bent nail, pilfered from the backstage scenery, in his pocketa traditional good-luck charm for Italian singers. He didn't need it. No tenor of the modern era faced down high Cs and even D flats and Ds more ruthlessly and with such glorious results. A man of vast appetites, the former teacher and insurance agent (and would-be soccer goalie) from Modena was the biggest star in opera. He brought it out of the opera houses to millions who otherwise would never have heard it.
Person of the Year 2007
His final year as Russia's President has been his most successful yet. At home, he secured his political future. Abroad, he expanded his outsizeif not always benigninfluence on global affairs