Notes and Editorial Reviews
“The Pavarotti Story, is in many ways, also The Decca Story as artist and record company worked hand-in-hand until the artist’s death in 2007. It was a relationship that lasted some 45 years, and will continue to bear fruit forever.” James Jolly
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 28 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. Every single track in the set has been remastered, under the supervision of long-term Decca balance engineer Philip Siney.
This is the first of three major releases in The Pavarotti Edition in 2014, of which the second is due in mid-2014, focusing on his remarkable middle period when he became an operatic star known as ‘The King of the High Cs’. The third, due late in 2014, is entitled ‘The People’s Tenor’ and will reflect the period when his fame extended across the world and transcended the classical genre.
The set includes an anniversary re-issue in vinyl of the famous May 1964 original first EP, cut by Pavarotti as his first recording for Decca – five arias including ‘Che gelida manina’ from La Boheme, ‘E lucevan le stelle’ from Tosca and three arias from Rigoletto.
It also includes a Bonus CD of Arias featuring the newly re-surfaced recording of ‘Che gelida manina’ from Pavarotti’s debut performance of La Boheme on April 29, 1961 at the Teatro Muncipale in Reggio Emilia, before his contract with Decca even commenced in 1963.
The collection serves to highlight the key partnerships in Pavarotti’s early recording career. The Sutherland-Pavarotti-Bonynge relationship was the first to be enshrined on record in Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda (CD 1 – 2). Their Donizetti recordings – La Fille du Regiment (CD 2 – 3) and L’elisir d’amore (CD 4 – 5) still have few rivals: “Pavarotti has a Gigli-like quality in characterisation and this suits him ideally for the role... you should readily be won over by the sheer exuberance, vocal as well as dramatic, that Sutherland brings to the role” – Gramophone original review
Opera was not the sole musical outlet for the Pavarotti of the 1960s and 1970s. He sang in choral works, such as Verdi’s Requiem and Rossini’s Stabat Mater and as his reputation spread he became a dedicated recitalist. His Verdi and Donizetti Arias (CD 25) contain some of the most perfect, natural, unforced singing of his entire career.