Pavarotti sang the role of Arnoldo in a Decca studio recording of the italian version of the opera, Guglielmo Tell, as opposed to the original french version Guillaume Tell. The Decca recording was made in 1978 and 1979 with Riccardo Chailly conducting the National Philharmonic Orchestra.
Come to think of this today as I was reminded that the opera was first performed on this day, 3rd August, in 1829, by the Paris Opéra at the Salle Le Peletier.
Pavarotti didn’t sing this opera live, or any parts of it in concert for that matter. This opera is quite long, about four hours (!), and isn’t that often performed. I’ve read somewhere that it’s considered an “armchair opera”; an opera that is best listened to on record in the comfort of your own home, sitting in a comfortable armchair (with a glass of good Italian vine, I presume)!
William Tell is not the easiest opera to cast because of the many and demanding roles in the opera. I’ve read somewhere that Pavarotti didn’t want to sing it on stage because he was afraid that it would ruin his voice. So, “armchair opera” it became with this “armchair recording”.
This recording was originally issued on Decca LPs in 1981, but it’s of course now available on Decca CDs (4 CDs), as well as download and streaming. First CD-release here. Second remastered CD-release here.
One of the famous parts of this opera is “Non mi lasciare, o speme di vendetta! … O muto asil del pianto … Corriam, voliam!”. Pavarotti recorded this aria (or is it three arias in a row?) about ten years earlier for his studio album “Luciano Pavarotti Sings Tenor Arias“, issued in 1971 (on Decca LP and later CD). Nicola Rescigno conducted Wiener Opernorchester in this 1969 recording.
This recording was later included in the Pavarotti compilation album “King of the high C’s” (also on Decca LP and later CD). That’s very fitting because there are several high C’s here that will knock your socks off! It’s just about 10 minutes of sublime tenor bliss!
When you hear this you’ll hear that this is very demanding to sing, and indeed very demanding to sing well! If this is sung bad it really hurts, especially when you have heard it sung as good as done by Pavarotti in his prime!
So, there you go: Pavarotti sings high demanding stuff from Rossini’s William Tell, or to be correct Guglielmo Tell, in two different studio recordings! Enjoy!