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Luciano Pavarotti Édition 1 : the First Decade
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Détails sur le produit
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Descriptions du produit
'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
This 27 CD set 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 collectors and opera lovers once more to appreciate his exceptional achievement in that first decade for the Decca label.
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 Bohème, 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 Bohème on April 29, 1961 at the Teatro Muncipale in Reggio Emilia.
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 Régiment (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.
The edition includes:
1 45-RPM EP
Booklet including track lists, castlists and synopses
An article by James Jolly
Libretti in original languages
Bellini: Beatrice di Tenda
Donizetti: La Fille du Régiment
Donizetti: L'Elisir d'Amore
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor
Puccini: La Bohème
Bellini: I Puritani
Puccini: Madama Butterfly
Donizetti: La Favorita
Verdi: Messa da Requiem
Verdi & Donizetti: Arias (plus extra tracks)
Pavarotti in Concert (plus extra tracks)
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I started with a long-time favorite:
DONIZETTI: L'ELISIR D'AMORE": I consider this Pavarotti's best singing on disc ever. He is so involved and his tone is so sweet that one just wants to listen on and on. And, finally, Decca has corrected one of the most serious mistakes it ever made. When this recording was first issued on CD, Decca just transferred the first 3 LP sides to disc 1, and the last 3 LP sides to disc two, never thinking twice of what they subjected the listener to. The last 6 minutes of the Act 1 finale was put on CD 2, necessitating the listener to get out of the mood of the opera and change discs. This was totally unnecessary, since there was more than enough space on the disc to include these minutes. This is now corrected with the wonderful result that one can listen to the entire first act without interruption. As for the sound, it has been totally remastered. The sound is very clean and especially the choral passages benefit from this. There seems to be more bass as well and the clarity is wonderful.
PUCCINI: "TURANDOT": This recording has been the go-to issue ever since it first appeared. The cast is just about invincible, with Sutherland, Caballé, Ghiaurov and Pavarotti all in superb voice. The recording, always considered spectacular, has also been totally remastered, with fantastic results. In the first Act, Nicolai Ghiaurov appeared to be all over the place in the opening scene. Now, with this issue, he is rock-steady in place. The sound is clear as a bell, with more definition and more natural warmth. Again, the choral passages gain the most from this treatment. Listen, for instance, to Caballé's "Signore, ascolta" with the following scene and you'll be convinced. The many choral passages jump at you and the orchestral contributions are just spectacular. When the recording was made, a friend, who was present at the sessions, told me that Kingsway Hall just about came down. The hall was barely big enough for the sound.
DONIZETTI: 'LA FILLE DU REGIMENT": This recording also has benefited from the remastering. Again, the choral passages gain the most, but the overall sound of this 1967 recording has been improved. In Tonio's first Act aria "Ah, mes amis" there was a small edit glitch, which has been cleaned up somewhat. It is not completely gone, but far less audible than before. I don't think I need to report on the performance. It has been in the catalog ever since it first appeared, and most people at all interested in these performers, will be familiar with the fun that everyone seems to be having.
VERDI: "MESSA DA REQUIEM" Another great recording that benefits from the longer playing-time of the new CDs. This CD is 84 minutes long, and thus this beautifully recorded performance can now be listened to without interruption, a great plus for the Requiem Mass. The sound is also much improved. The drum-whacks in the "Dies Irae" will literally wake up the dead.
PUCCINI: "MADAMA BUTTERFLY": This performance, never far away from my turntable, then CD player, has been remastered to fit on 2 CDs. The sound is great, as before, but there is more clarity, as with all the previous recordings mentioned above. Mirella Freni touches the heart like no one else for me, and again, Pavarotti in superb voice. The Vienna Philharmonic play for Karajan as if they play Puccini daily.
VERDI: "MACBETH": This recording was never in my collection, simply because I cannot listen to Fischer-Dieskau in Italian opera, and especially not in Verdi. Listening to this performance, I think I was right (for me). Dieskau rages through the rôle like a German stormtrooper and ruins for me any pleasure I did get from the other performers. Suliotis is actually pretty good, and the short rôle of Macduff is well served by Pavarotti. The sound of the recording is quite wonderful, but I still don't think I'll re-visit this recording any time soon.
I will post my other impressions later. I consider this set more than worth the money. I for one, am glad to not have listened to my original first thoughts. Buy it, it will disappear soon
May 21: Finally got around to PUCCINI: "LA BOHÈME": This recording has been in the catalogue non stop since it first appeared. When it appeared, on LP, I used to listen often to the classic Serafin recording, also on Decca, with Tebaldi and Bergonzi as the lovers. This recording under von Karajan is totally different, and to my mind, just as valid. Mr. Karajan lavishes on the score attention this music deserves, but seldom gets. He may be a little slow at times, but that gives the music all the more time to spell its magic. The comparison between Bergonzi and Pavarotti is interesting, in that Bergonzi tends to portray the poetic side of Rodolfo, and Pavarotti is more the young, ardent lover. Both are absolutely wonderful amd equally valid. By the time Tebaldi recorded her second "Bohème" she was no longer in the full flush of youth, but her portrayal is movingly sung. However, there can be no more lovable Mimi than Mirella Freni. I've seen and heard her in three different productions, and every time the tears flow freely in the third and fourth acts. There just is no one like her, period. The re-mastered sound is full-bodied and clear with wonderful string sound from the Berlin Philharmonic.
May 23: DONIZETTI: "LA FAVORITA": In this recording, I think it was the first time that I noticed a change in Pavarotti's singing. Like in the almost contemporaneous "Maria Stuarda", Pavarotti sounds stressed at times, something never heard before in his recordings. The bloom seems to have gone. Also, according to Richard Bonynge, the conductor in many Pavarotti/Sutherland recordings, and also in this one, Pavarotti's super-star status made him less easy to work with, and he became lazy. On occasion, the old Pavarotti magic surfaces and it is a joy to hear. There just was not and is not a voice as splendid as his, full of sunshine. Other tenors may be greater artists as such, but for vocal splendor no one can touch him. Fiorenza Cossotto delivers a very fine performance, as does Nicolai Ghiaurov. Sound-wise, there seems to be no difference with the previous CD issue. Decca could never get the same splendid results in the Bologna Opera House that it could get in London's Kingsway Hall or Walthamstow.
MAY 23: "RECITAL DISCS": The Verdi/Donizetti LP was always Pavarotti at his very finest. The new edition is clear and more care has been taken than in the original CD issue. The disc also contains some titles from the next Pavarotti recital. The rest of that second recital sits on the second CD in this box, together with "Pavarotti in Concert" with lovely songs from Bellini and also some delightful baroque items. I am disappointed in that Decca did not include the complete Rossini Stabat Mater, but only the Cujus Animam. Likewise, the complete Ballo in Maschera is missing, just three items included. The third disc, labeled "bonus" has also some live performances that Decca claims have "recently surfaced". All three operas, La Bohème, Manon and I Capuleti ed i Montecchi have been available on several "private" labels for years. They have been cleaned up though, and sound better than before. It is also nice to have Pavarotti's very first Decca recordings also on CD. This way we can keep the EP sealed. Besides, many people will not have a record player anymore.
All in all a very desirable box for lovers of Pavarotti, opera, and just great singing.
Since1954 I was visiting a little store named Book Clearing House on Boylston St. In Boston . The owner ff the store Mr. Joseph had a collection of LP's and among them many rarities . I always purchased from him because he reliable and always willing to order records for me as long as they were available. In June, 1970 I was in Boston on Bussiness mat her in the vicinity of Book Clearing House ,it was hot day and I decided to go and check if there is something new. AS soon as I close the door I heard a familiar aria ' Deserto Terra ' from the opera by Gaetano Donizetti ( 1797-1848) . I owned this opera complete on private label issued on 3 LP's With Gianni Poggi, Fedora Barbieri , Giulio Nerri , alive performance from Florence and conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini.(1955). My first thought
Was : They playing the recording of Don Sebastiano and I am hearing Gianni Poggi's voice , but seconds later the sound was getting more beautiful and I started realize that this voice comes from different throat of a better tenor more polished. Mr. Joseph , please tell me the name of this tenor who sings so beautifully . With pleasure , he replied. He is an Italian tenor and his name is Luciano. Pavarotti. I purchased in a hurry this LP of Verdi and Donizetti arias with Luciano Pavarotti and listened almost without stop for the next two weeks. The qriq ' Deserto Terra ' puts great demands on the tenor voice , because it consists of four high C's and high D ., and Gianni Poggi did an excellent job. . but Pavarotti not only does a excellent job , he sings it more beautifully Throughout, and his highC's and high D's are gorgeous. This kind of singing we hear in all thirteen operas con taint in this Edition. Among the most successful recordings ' La Fille Du Regiment ' with soprano Joan Sutherland creating a beautiful portrait of Marie. Donizetti's L' Elisir d' Amore ' another charming comedy performed beautifully with Sutherland as Adina.
Giuseppe Verdi ( 1813-1901) Rigoletto with Pavarotti as the Duke of Mantua with Sutherland and Sherrill Milnes.
Donizetti Lucia Di Lammermoor is one of the great recordings with stellar cast of Sutherland and Milnes, although Sutherland is in a fresher voice in her earlier recording.Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) Turandot is another excellent performance with Sutherland in the tittle role , but it has a great competition from earlier recordings. The famous and popular La Boheme by Puccini is beautifully sang , but again it has a great competition from earlier recordings. I Puritani by Vincenzo Bellini ( 1801-35) is probably the greatest recording of this opera ever made. it has Stellar cast where all singers are in their primes . It is also conducted beautifully by Richard Bonynge. Macbeth by Giuseppe Verdi is a unfortunate recording The tittle. Role is badly cast . Dietrich Fisher- Dieskau is an excellent singer in German and Austrian operas , but he is not a Verdi baritone , and he should not takle an Italian operas.
Puccini Madama Butterfly with Mirella Freni as Butterfly is another superbly sang performance and there is plenty beautiful singing in the famous duet. Donizetti La Favorita to be succssesful needs a great cast . Pavarotti and Fiorenza Cossotto as Leonora . Both singers are their primes and their portraits are profound and their singing gorgeous. The sopporting cast is also excellent. Verdi : Messa Di Requiem, I have not listen to this recording and I can not judge. Looking at the cast , I believe it is an excellent performance. The other two recitals In Concert and Bonus Disc , have great selections of arias and songs and are beautifully sang and recorded. The Presentation of this Edition is luxurious with beautifully illustrated booklet and with details of each recording.A Bonus disc of Pavarotti earliest recordings is included. In conclusion I would like to say that this luxurious Edition is a Fitting Tribute to one of the greatest voices of the twentied century.
When I opened up this big box, my jaw dropped lower and lower with the beautiful contents and wonderful line-up. This is a real 'tribute', not just an ordinary box set!!!
No libretto but a big pictorial of Luciano's early years, done in state of the art details and tremendously good coverages.
The 27-disc contains mainly operas with Pavarotti, Sutherland and Bonynge in the early years (up to 1974). Needless to say, Pavarotti's voice was glorious, a true force of nature, and his artistic honesty fully in tact during this stage of his illustrious career.
The big treat to lovers of opera and fans of Pavarotti like me, is that in this fabulous set, there is one small vinyl of Pavarotti's earliest London recordings. For a vinyl lover like myself, I almost wept for joy upon the sight of this big 'bonus'! For all opera lovers, we all know that Pav sounded truly magical on vinyl!
If you ask me to choose one of the BEST disc in this fabulous album, it would have to be Solti's Verdi Requiem, showcasing Pavarotti, Sutherland, Horne and Tavela, recorded in 1967. This ranks pari passu with the same year's live recording with Herbert von Karajan, Cossotto, Price and Ghiaurov, also featuring Pavarotti as tenor.
All-time great operatic recordings of course include Donizetti (Regiment, L'esir, Favorita), Bellini (Tenda, Puritani, Sonnambula), Verdi (Rigoletto, La Traviata); Puccini (Turandot, Boheme), featuring major sopranos in the persons of Joan Sutherland and Mirella Freni, with the great Caballe.
The concert recitals are similarly terrific, with one live one in which Pav sung works of Handel (!) and other baroque pieces, accompanied by Bonynge. These recital CDs contain extra tracks that were not in their original releases, and the extras add up to an entire CD's time, so it should actually be 28 CDs instead of 27.
Seems that Decca will release Editions 2 and 3. Despite that, this first and earliest Edition 1 must prevail over the later ones, given that Decca last year released a dual CD representing, very sadly, most of Pavarotti's later and far less successful attempts.
A MUST even if you already owned some of the contents.
No need to extoll the quality of the recordings contained in the set, suffice it to say it spans Pavarotti's first decade as a Decca artist, partnered in the majority of the operas by one of Decca's other great exponent, Joan Sutherland.
The set is a very beautiful package, Lp sized, with a lavish booklet, plus three inserts containing the Cds proper, plus a bonus Vinyl the size of a 45 rpm record.
The main reason for purchasing the set, though, is the admirable remasterings of ALL the recordings in it.
It boasts a new 96khz/24 bit processing (apparently stemming from the original master tapes), what seems to be the new trend in the industry, (cf. the upcoming Callas Remastered Edition due in a couple of weeks, which sounds fantastic even in its iTunes preview), and well worth the double dip.
In one word, the music sounds absolutely STUNNING: brilliant, airy, with great presence and warm bass, bringing out the wonderful acoustics of the several great recording venues. Of special notice is Turandot's brilliant orchestration which comes glittering out of Kingsway Hall!
Highly reccomended even for those who already own the prevoius Cd incarnations.
I think that the 1970's were his greatest decade, when his voice and artistic powers were in their finest balance. Unfortunately, this perfection was not to last. He let himself balloon up to over three hundred and fifty pounds in the 1980's, started taking on heavy dramatic tenor roles which compromised the lyric beauty of his instrument, and began to become a media cash cow by his agent Herbert Breslin (who wrote a not especially nice book about dealing with Pavarotti beginning in the 1980's).
The last seventeen years of Pavarotti's career is better left unmentioned. No need to worry about it here anyway. The Pavarotti that is heard in this box is the Pavarotti the world should remember and cherish.