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.
When Luciano Pavarotti died in September, the world lost one of its finest voices. The 'King of the High Cs' was sought after by all the major opera houses in his early career. International superstardom came with his Three Tenors and Pavarotti and Friends concerts. His version of Nessun Dorma was used for the BBC's coverage of the 1990 FIFA World Cup. This portrait uses archive and the memories of his closest associates- including Jose Carreras, Dame Joan Sutherland and Juan Diego Florez.
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.
Those who know Zeffirelli's style won't be surprised by the conventionally lavish production, but it effectively evokes the atmosphere of religious oppression and personal antagonisms Verdi so unerringly depicts. The dark-hued, threatening setting fits Muti's energetic, rhythmically vital conception. He quickens the emotions in a peculiarly Italianate way, and throughout evinces a feeling for the colouring of the score. His reading is in turn a good background for some thoughtful and idiomatic singing.