10 fantastic Pavarotti facts

Pavarotti’s record company Decca has made 10 short videos to mark the 10th anniversary of his death. These videos are also commercials for the latest Pavarotti compilation album, the new double CD from Decca entitled The People’s Tenor.

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This blog post no. 317 was first published 07-09-2017. Last revision 07-09-2017.

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10 years without Luciano Pavarotti

Today it is 10 years since the great Luciano Pavarotti died. On 6 September 2007 Pavarotti lost his battle against pancreatic cancer and died in his home in Modena, Italy.

After the 10 years of his passing, Pavarotti is still remembered, and he is still loved and cherished as he was when he was alive. And maybe even more.

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We still remember his performances on the opera stage, in the concert halls and in the great concert arenas and parks. We remember the times we were so lucky to hear Pavarotti live. And the legendary performances where we wish we where flies on the opera house walls listening in.

Pavarotti’s recordings are essential to every Pavarotti fan. We love to listen to them, over and over again, and to explore further the glory of Pavarotti’s voice. His recordings are still selling and still listened to, many of which are considered to be the greatest opera and classical music recordings of all time.

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These memories and recordings have been for the last 10 years our comfort and joy, and our sources of inspiration.

This year we will see many manifestations of the love and admiration people still have for Pavarotti. Like tonight, in Verona, Italy, where the 10th anniversary tribute concert will take place.

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Many Pavarotti deluxe record boxes will also be released this year on Decca to mark this anniversary. These boxes will contain CDs and DVDs, but also Blu-ray Audio discs and even vinyl, both LPs and one EP.

Today we remember Pavarotti’s art, life and legacy, but it’s really all about the voice. The voice that for many is the voice of the greatest tenor in the history of opera.

RIP Luciano Pavarotti (1935-2006).

This blog post no. 316 was first published 06-09-2017. Last revision 06-09-2017.

My 30 years with Luciano Pavarotti

This summer it is 30 years since I discovered the great Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti. The summer of 1987 I wanted to explore opera so I took a chance and bought my first Pavarotti record. On random I bought the two LP set compilation “My Own Story” from Decca. What a voice! I was hooked! From that day on Pavarotti became my favourite tenor for life.

When I began exploring Pavarotti’s recordings I discovered not only many wonderful operas, but also many beautiful sacred works and classical songs. Later I became aware of Pavarotti’s recordings of Italian and Neapolitan songs. Then in 1990 came the first Three Tenors concert and in 1992 the first Pavarotti & Friends concert. There was so much to explore!

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In the 1990s Pavarotti’s fame and success reached new heights and I continued to explore his recordings. After investigating his official recordings, mostly on Decca, I began exploring the myriad of unofficial Pavarotti recordings. There was also a number of books about Pavarotti! Even more to explore!

After a while I just had to hear Pavarotti live! I heard Pavarotti live only three times: In Verdi’s Requiem in Oslo (1992), and live in concert in Oslo (1999) and in Stockholm (2005).

As my interest in Pavarotti’s art developed so did my interest for Italian language, culture and society. I was just the natural next step! So in the summer of 2000 I went to Rome to learn Italian for a month. I have continued to learn Italian and to explore Italy to this very day!

In 2007 Pavarotti passed away. His death took my passion for Pavarotti to another level. In May 2009 I started this blog. I wrote this in my very first blog post:

“Hopefully this blog will be interesting for all Pavarotti’s fans, also the ardent ones. It will sometimes be somewhat funny or odd as the perspectives taken on Pavarotti’s art, life and legacy will take many odd turns and twists. Pavarotti was not only a great artist and a great person, but has also become a cultural icon and phenomenon. Naturally, Pavarotti’s performances and recordings will be essential topics in this blog.”

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And the journey into Pavarotti’s art, life and legacy continues. Like this morning, when I received the latest Pavarotti compilation album which has its international release today. The new double CD from Decca is entitled The People’s Tenor. What an appropriate title for a Pavarotti album!

Pavarotti was for me the starting point for my interest into opera, an interest which is still evolving. My musical interest has all my life revolved around the human voice in all its form, whether it’s classical, opera, sacred, jazz, soul, disco or pop, whether it’s tenors, soul singers, sopranos, countertenors, baritones, jazz singers or disco divas.

There are many great voices out there, both past and present, in many genres, that I love to listen to, but the greatest voice of them all was, is and forever will be the voice of the great Luciano Pavarotti!

For the last 30 years I have listen to Pavarotti singing. When looking back on these 30 years, I wonder how I could have survived without Pavarotti’s glorious voice!

Grazie mille, Luciano!

This blog post no. 315 was first published 01-09-2017. Last revision 01-09-2017.

Christmas with Pavarotti: A brand new Pavarotti Christmas album entitled “Christmas with Pavarotti”!

Today it’s exactly three months until Christmas Eve, so it’s really time to think about Christmas again! In my house, as well as in my office at work, I’ve started playing Pavarotti’s wonderful Christmas album entitled “O holy night”.

It’s therefore with delight that I can report that a brand new Christmas album with Pavarotti is on its way to us all this Christmas. The album is simply entitled “Christmas with Pavarotti”. This 2 CD album from Decca will be in stores from 4 November in Europe and 10 November in Japan.

The album contains 36 tracks (some sources indicates 34 tracks). Adding all this information together I can give you this preliminary overview of the tracks:

It looks like this new Pavarotti Christmas album features a great collection of both traditional and modern Christmas songs. And what a beautiful front cover for this album!

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Please note that the information above is preliminary as it’s based on information from various online record stores and not from any official Decca or Universal sources. Some of this information can therefore be wrong. I will update this blog post as soon as new information comes available.

In addition to listening to the “O holy night” album, I have another pre-Christmas activity. I love to watch Pavarotti’s Christmas concert from Montreal, Canada in 1978. Previously issued on VHS on Decca (I got an Italian version to prove it!), it’s now available on DVD on various labels. Maybe it’s time for Decca to issue this concert as well? Maybe next Christmas, Decca?

With all the best for Christmas! It’s going to be great now that there’s a new Pavarotti Christmas album to look forward to! 🙂

This blog post no. 314 was first published 24-09-2016. Last revision 24-09-2016.

Remember the 2011 Norway attacks: Music for comfort and hope

Five years have passed since the two terrible sequential terrorist attacks in Norway on 22 July 2011 known as “The 2011 Norway attacks”, in Norway just as “22 July” (“22. juli”). The lone wolf terrorist killed 77 persons an injured over four times as many.

I haven’t really got anything to add to what’s been said before during the last five years. You come to a point were there’s no words left. It’s all been said before, and even better by others. The important thing is to remember those who died, to honour their legacy, and to never let this happen again. To anybody.

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All I can offer here is music. I strongly believe in the power of music. Music can express love, loss, longing, anger and despair. Music can comfort, help and heal. Music can give people strength and hope.

The days, weeks and months that followed the 2011 attacks really showed the world the strengths of Norwegian society. It also showed that music really can give comfort and hope to people. The terrible facts remain: 77 lives are gone forever, mostly young people. Just starting out on their life’s journey. That’s still so hard to comprehend, even today.

If music can give some comfort and hope to somebody out there struggling I offer five beautiful arias, the first three sung by Pavarotti and the last two sung by the countertenor David Hansen:

  • “Caro mio ben” by Giordani
  • “Che farò senza Euridice” from “Orfeo e Euridice” by Gluck
  • “O figli miei … Ah, la paterna mano” from “Macbeth# by Verdi
  • “Ombra mai fu” from “Serse” by Handel
  • “When I am laid in earth” from “Dido and Aeneas” by Purcell

The photo above is from the Oslo government quarter where the 2011 attacks started. The H block (the tallest building) was housing the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Justice and the Police (the lowest building is the Y block). The photo is taken in August 2011, under a month after the attacks.

Never forget the 2011 Norway attacks!

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This blog post no. 313 was first published 22-07-2016. Last revision 22-07-2016.

To sing, or not to sing … Pavarotti sings William Shakespeare

The whole world is celebrating the great William Shakespeare this week. On 23 April 2016 was exactly 400 years since the death of the greatest writer in the English language.

Shakespeare’s works have inspired many other artists in creating new works in almost every art form there is, including classical music, such as operas from composers like Berlioz, Rossini, Verdi and Gounod.

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Pavarotti recorded and/or performed two operas inspired by works by Shakespeare.

Verdi’s Macbeth has a libretto based on Shakespeare’s play of the same name. Pavarotti sang the role of Macduff in a complete studio recording from 1970 which is available on Decca.

Verdi’s Otello has a libretto based on Shakespeare’s play Othello. Pavarotti sang the title role only in complete concert performances in 1991 which is also available on Decca.

In addition I would like to mention Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi, an opera which has a libretto based on the story of Romeo and Juliet, the same story of Shakespeare’s play of the same name. Shakespeare based his play on another source, so Bellini’s opera isn’t strictly based on Shakespeare. At least three different complete live recordings from 1966-68 of this opera with Pavarotti singing the role of Tebaldo is available on various labels.

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And talking about Romeo and Juliet: Bernstein’s West Side Story was indeed inspired by Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. The Three Tenors sang “Maria”, “Tonight” and “America” from that musical on many of their concerts which are also available on their concert recordings on Decca and Warner.

I close this Pavarotti-Shakespeare investigation with the beautiful aria “O figli miei … Ah, la paterna mano” from Verdi’s Macbeth sung by Pavarotti in a concert performance.

Enjoy this Shakespeare jubilee year! There is so much more classical music inspired by the great Shakespeare for you to explore and enjoy! 🙂

This blog post no. 312 was first published 24-04-2016. Last revision 26-04-2016.

The best Luciano Pavarotti quotes

For a time now I’ve presented some great quotes by the great Luciano Pavarotti. And there is more to come, but let’s start with a quote about Pavarotti for a change. Here comes a quote by the conductor Carlos Kleiber which I think describes Pavarotti perfectly.

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This quote translates something like this: “When Pavarotti sings the sun rises above the world”.

And talking about quotes: I came across these two YouTube videos which present the best quotes by the great Pavarotti himself. So here we go! 🙂

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This blog post no. 311 was first published 30-03-2016. Last revision 30-03-2016.