For millions of people all over the world Luciano Pavarotti literally was Classical music. This outstanding collection of popular oprera arias and duets, sacred songs, and Neapolitan favourites is drawn from the finest recordings Luciano Pavarotti made during an unparalleled career, and presents the definitive profile of one of the most important voices of all time. From 'La Donna E Mobile', 'O Sole Mio' and 'Torna a Sorriento' to Christmas classics 'O Holy Night' and 'Panis Angelicus', including, of course, his celebrated 'Nessun Dorma'. Bonus duets with Andrea Bocelli ('Notte e piscatore'), Cecilia Bartoli ('Cherry Duet') and Frank Sinatra ('My Way') included.
Recorded in 1967, the recording features Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti at the high-noon of their careers! Pavarotti, with great charm and humor, tosses off endless high notes in a barnstorming performance. Sutherland easily tackles the great vocal demands and gives an effortlessly stunning performance. No other recording of this opera has come close to surpassing this classic for vocal beauty and sheer thrills!
For me, this recording represents the absolute epitome of bel canto singing, with Pavarotti spinning endless golden tone as Fernand and Fiorenza Cossotto showcasing that indomitable chest-voice as Leonora.–Katherine Cooper
It would be hard to imagine a better performance of Donizetti's comic masterpiece. If there was one role that ideally suited Luciano Pavarotti's voice and stage personality, it was Nemorino, the impoverished and not-very-bright peasant who worships the village's prettiest and richest young woman from a distance, is swindled by a traveling vendor of "miracle" medicines, but wins her hand by dumb luck. The story has comedy, pathos, and a put-down of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde (or at least the Tristan story) written long before Wagner composed it.
This opera becomes a battle of the divas in its great second act, with Sutherland, as Mary Stuart, pitted against the jealous, paranoid, and vengeful Elizabeth I (Tourangeau). There is an intensely dramatic confrontation in which insults are violently exchanged between the powerful monarch and her imprisoned but still regal rival to the throne. Mary wins the battle of insults, but this is a dangerous victory over one who has the power of life and death. Elizabeth orders Mary's execution and Act III becomes a spectacle of pathos and horror. Sutherland's usual style is more attuned to pathos than to the swapping of insults, but she rises splendidly to the challenges of Act II and she has a splendid supporting cast. (Joe McLellan)
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.