The Three Tenors

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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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.

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.

Happy Australia Day with Pavarotti!

Today is Australia Day, the official National Day of Australia, which is celebrated annually on 26 January in Australia and by Australians living abroad.

Pavarotti performed in Australia many times during his career, but there is another important Australian connection for Pavarotti. The Australian soprano Dame Joan Sutherland was together with her conductor husband Richard Bonynge instrumental for Pavarotti’s career on stage and on record, especially in the early stages of his career. Pavarotti and Sutherland made many landmark recordings on Decca together, as well as performing in operas and concerts together.

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In the following video Pavarotti and Sutherland sing the duet “Prendi: l’anel ti dono” from the Bellini opera La Sonnambula from a concert in 1983 in Sydney, Australia with Bonynge conducting. This concert is available on CD and DVD.

The Three Tenors performed in Australia once. On 1 March 1997 The Three Tenors performed at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne as part of their World Tour together with conductor Marco Armiliato. At this concert The Three Tenors surprised their audience by singing the popular Australian song “Waltzing Matilda“, by many described as the country’s “unofficial national anthem”.

Pavarotti held solo concerts in Australia as well. More on that in another post. Let’s end these Australia Day celebrations with a clip of Pavarotti singing “Nessun dorma!” from The Three Tenors concert mentioned above. Clearly Pavarotti conquered Australia too! 🙂

Happy Australia Day everybody, especially my Australian followers! 🙂

This blog post no. 303 was first published 26-01-2016. Last revision 26-01-2016.

Happy 75th birthday, Plácido Domingo!

Today is the 75th birthday of the Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo. The great Plácido Domingo was born in Madrid, Spain on 21 January 1941.

Domingo is one of the world’s leading tenors of our time, and of all time. Domingo is probably the most versatile opera singer in history. He has sung 147 (!!!) opera roles in Italian, French, German, English, Spanish and Russian. This opposed to Pavarotti’s repertoire of ca. 30 opera roles, almost exclusively in Italian.

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Domingo has had an incredible career on stage and on records in opera, sacred works and various crossover projects, and in the last years he also has made a career as a conductor, among many other things. He is clearly an intellectual, also in his approach to singing.

Domingo was for years considered a strong rival of Pavarotti, but from the first Three Tenors concert in Rome, Italy in 1990 the competition between the two changed into collaboration.

To celebrate the great Plácido Domingo I give you excerpt from the medley from the first Three Tenors concert in Rome, Italy in 1990.

Happy 75th birthday, grandissimo Plácido Domingo! 🙂

This blog post no. 301 was first published 21-01-2016. Last revision 21-01-2016.

Vinyl is back: The first Three Tenors concert back on vinyl after 25 years

This year marked the 25th anniversary for the very first Three Tenors concert in Rome, Italy on July 7, 1990. Decca released a special 25th anniversary edition of the concert on CD and DVD.

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Decca also released the concert on LP (!!!). The very special 25h anniversary LP edition brought back this concert to vinyl for the first time since its original release in 1990!

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And there’s more! A blue vinyl edition was also released. I’m not sure what’s the difference between black and blue vinyl other than the color but it sure looks blue! 🙂

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We all know that vinyl is back, so we all hope for more Pavarotti releases on vinyl in the future! In addition, some of us hunts for second-hand Pavarotti vinyls wherever we are. More about my Pavarotti vinyl findings in blog posts to come! 🙂

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This post was first published 29-12-2015. Last revision 29-12-2015.