This studio recording was made in 1989 coinciding with a memorable production from the Metropolitan Opera, later captured on DVD. It's a delightful performance, and a wonderful highlight of Pavarotti's later career. Kathleen Battle's sparkling soprano is a brilliant accompaniment to Pavarotti's still-ringing tone.
"Pavarotti's voice was still beautiful and pliable, his phrasing exquisite. And he loved the role of Nemorino and always seemed happy with both its comedy and pathos–he steals every scene he's in, and no one minds…Kathleen Battle sings Adina with perfect, pearl-like tone, absolute fluency and commitment, and a trill to die for…Enzo Dara is an ideal Dulcamara, just the right combination of huckster and sentimentalist, with ease in every register and with fast music."
– Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
Gaetano Donizetti opera's La Favorita originally had a French libretto and the title La Favorite. One of Donizetti’s finest music dramas, it was written at his peak as an orchestrator. The Italian, and better-known version, evolved two years after the French premiere and has become the more-performed version, exemplified by this famous 1974 recording starring Luciano Pavarotti, Fiorenza Cossotto, Gabriel Bacquier and Nicolai Ghiaurov. Pavarotti's voice has been called "youthful and fresh" on this album. Pavarotti's frequent collaborator Richard Bonynge conducts the Orchestra of the Teatro Comunale, Bologna.
An opera about a company who are staging an opera? Donizetti is at the height of his comic powers and provides an abrasively disenchanted take on a world he knew all too well, with it tantrum-throwing primadonnas and narcissistic tenors, its spite and envy, its mean and noble sides… a world which is still very much with us.
Dedicated by Donizetti to Rubini (the part of the protagonist was written expressly for the famous tenor), Gianni di Parigi is a delightful opera, rich in brilliant music and often very inspired, alternating pages of high virtuoso belcanto singing to others of gentler melodic effusion, already truly romantic, and reaching to the highest levels of Donizetti's comic spirit in the long articulated scene of the two buffi, justifiably the best known piece of the opera.
Glyndebourne has brought to light a long-overlooked winner in Donizetti’s Poliuto, delivering ‘a superb musical performance’ (The Telegraph) offering ‘lucent accounts of the principal roles and an incandescent London Philharmonic Orchestra, under Enrique Mazzola’ (New York Times). This first ever professional UK staging of the story of third-century Armenian martyr St Polyeuctus features a ‘trio of world-class young singers’ with Fabiano, winner of the Beverly Sills and Richard Tucker awards, displaying a ‘thrilling, vibrant tone’ in the title role, Martínez providing Paolina with ‘pinging coloratura’ and Golovatenko giving a ‘radiant-toned’ voice to Severo. (The Guardian)
The Italian mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli is one of the most charming and talented singers to appear on the scene in recent years, and this collection of Italian songs by three great opera composers–Bellini, Donizetti, and Rossini–is a most deserving bestseller. There are many small pleasures in the selections, which reflect the bel canto predilections of their authors, and Bartoli renders them artfully. Some will be familiar even to casual listeners (Rossini's La Danza, the famous tarantella); others will be new to most, but equally deserving of a hearing. The sensitive and skillful accompaniment is by conductor-pianist James Levine.
One of the composers's most beguiling scores, La Favorite is Donizetti's La favorita in its original form – a tale of love and war that represents a glorious mix of Italian bel canto and 19th-century grand opera. Vincent Boussard's production for Toulouse does full justice to its renewed masterpiece status, accentuating the work's intimacy through economical sets and Christian Lacroix's striking costumes, thus drawing attention to the opera's three main characters played by Yijie Shi, Ludovic Tézier and Kate Aldrich.