2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the start of the relationship between Luciano Pavarotti and Decca a fitting occasion to marvel once again at the sheer quality of the voice of the 20th Century s greatest tenor.
This 27 CD survey reviews the totality of Pavarotti s remarkably intense first decade with Decca. Everything the artist recorded for the company from signing his contract until 1973 is here, allowing critics and collectors and opera lovers once more to appreciate his exceptional achievement in that first decade for the Decca label.
In continuing the great tradition of Decca's magnificent Met Opera DVDs, Giordano's Andrea Chénier is captured here in excellent quality, showcasing Luciano Pavarotti, the premiere opera star of his day in one his most memorable performances, alongside Maria Guleghina and Juan Pons, with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by James Levine. One of the great verismo operatic dramas, Andrea Chénier is notable for the title role's two great solo arias, 'Un di all'azzurro spazio' (also known as 'L'improvviso') and 'Come un bel di di maggio', as well as the overwhelming final duet, 'Vicino a te'. Truly a legendary and unique performance from the great tenor.
There is only one studio recording available of Donizetti's La Favorita (Italian version, not the original French language La Favorite) This is a bravura role for Luciano Pavarotti who's voice is certainly at its best here singing the role of Fernando, repertoire that could have been written just for him. The high C's and C#'s are exquisite here. He truly seems to know what he is singing about for this recording and his performance comes accross as very believable because of it. Fiorenza Cossotto is especially moving in her role as the "the favorite," Leonora. I found it unfortunate that she was not in better voice for the first act of this recording. Very disturbing was the love duet with Pavarotti.
In 1994, the same Metropolitan Opera put two contrasting pieces of the verismo puzzle side by side—the belated verismo of Puccini’s Il Tabarro and the classic verismo of Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci, which had reached the stage some twenty-six years earlier.