Pavarotti sang many times together with the great Spanish soprano Montserrat Caballé, both on stage and on record. It’s time to pay tribute to this great Spanish soprano shortly before she pays her tribute to Pavarotti in the upcoming tribute concert, called “Luciano’s Friends”, in Modena, Italy on September 6th, 21012.
Montserrat Caballé was born in Barcelona, Spain in 1933. She is Spain’s most succesful and famous soprano with a great international career on the opera stages of the world. Many will also remember her over the top pop duet “Barcelona“ with the rock singer Freddie Mercury from 1987.
Pavarotti recorded six operas for Decca together with Montserrat Caballé, all available on Decca CD. Highlights from all these recordings, including duets with Pavarotti, is to be found on the Decca CD “The great voice of Caballé: Italian opera arias & duets“.
One of these operas is the famous 1972 recording of Puccini’s Turandot were Caballé sang the role of Liù against Pavarotti’s Calaf. However, Caballé sang the role of Turandot herself against Pavarotti’s Calaf live at the San Francisco Opera in 1977. A recording of the 4 November 1977 performance is unofficially available on several labels, and is easily obtainable, for instance on the Gala label.
The 1972 studio recording is of course the Turandot to have, but the 1977 live recording is also wonderful! Get them both! I’ve read somewhere that Pavarotti enjoyed the 1977 recording very much and eagerly signed LP versions of this recording. When listening to the 1977 live recording I often think of how sad it was that Pavarotti didn’t sing this opera much on stage.
Many of the Caballé/Pavarotti collaborations on stage have been issued unofficially on record and can also be found on YouTube.
The first two YouTube clips of the day are audio recordings from the 1977 live recording. Caballé and Pavarotti sings to duets: “In questa reggia” and “Straniero, ascolta”. The third YouTube clip is an interview with Caballé and Pavarotti talking about this performance of Turandot.