Luciano Pavarotti’s career began at the Teatro Municipale in Reggio Emilia in northern Italy, playing Rodolfo in Puccini’s La bohème in 1961. It ended at the Winter Olympics in Turin in 2006 where, before a live and televised audience of millions, he delivered one final rendition of his signature aria, “Nessun dorma,” from Puccini’s Turandot. In those 45 years, he was inarguably the world’s most beloved operatic tenors, crossing over on a level few international stars of any genre had ever achieved. This year, to commemorate the recent 10th anniversary of his passing, Decca Records honors Pavarotti’s life and legend with two new products: a recent double-disc compilation and a staggering 101-disc box set.
Luciano Pavarotti: The Complete Opera Recordings encompasses an incredible 95 CDs and six Blu-ray Audio discs that, in one package, showcase each and every operatic role he ever portrayed. Here, you’ll hear his appearances in works by Verdi (Requiem, Macbeth, Rigoletto, La traviata, I Lombardi alla prima crociata–the latter his final opera recording in 1996), Donizetti (La fille du régiment, a 1972 performance of which at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York earned him his first stateside acclaim), Rossini (William Tell, the stirring non-opera Stabat mater), Puccini (La bohème, Turandot, Madama Butterfly, Tosca), Leoncavallo (Pagliacci) and others. Additionally, the Blu-Ray Audio discs feature six of the operas transferred in uncompressed, 24-bit high-resolution audio–including that debut performance of La bohème. (21 of the recordings here are sourced from 24-bit transfers on CD; all have been remastered for superior quality at Abbey Road Studios in London.) An accompanying hardback book features a new essay by James Jolly, former editor of Gramophone magazine, photographs, press clippings and reminiscences from collaborators including celebrated conductor Zubin Mehta and Italian soprano Mirella Freni.
For those looking for a broader assessment of Pavarotti’s career, The People’s Tenor, released earlier this fall, features 25 opera selections and 25 Neapolitan songs–including selections taken from his non-opera studio and live albums, including performances from 1990’s Carreras Domingo Pavarotti In Concert, the best-selling classical album of all time that birthed the concept of “The Three Tenors.”
The box set is available this Friday, December 1, while The People’s Tenor is out now. Amazon links to both are below!