Christmas with Pavarotti: The East German “O holy night” album

During the Cold War Pavarotti’s recordings were rarely published in the Communist Bloc countries of Central and Eastern Europe, and he rarely held concerts behind the Iron Curtain during that period.

One of the very few exceptions took place in East Germany, or the German Democratic Republic (GDR), which was its official name, or Die Deutsche Demokratische Republik (DDR). as it was known in German.

In 1982, the East German state classical record label Eterna, based in East Berlin, published Pavarotti’s Christmas album “O holy night” under the title Ave Maria” on LP and Music Cassette.

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The album contained 9 tracks, which was the same tracks as the original UK Decca LP release. The US London LP version contained two more tracks, but these two tracks later appeared on later editions of the album in UK and around the world.

The Ave Maria Eterna LP can easily be found in second-hand stores in Germany and elsewhere. What a treasure to have in your Pavarotti collection!

Imagine the divided city of Berlin in 1982: Pavarotti’s Christmas album was published in East Berlin, and in West Berlin Pavarotti sang in the Verdi opera Aida at Deutsche Oper. Read about Pavarotti in that West Berlin Aida here and here.

Imagine also this: In 1989 the Berlin Wall was open and would later be teared down. The divided city was no longer divided and soon Berlin would become the capital of a united Germany.

I wish you all a joyful and peaceful Christmas!

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This post was first published 21-12-2014. Last revision 21-12-2014.

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