Pavarotti in Berlin

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.


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!


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


Pavarotti in Berlin (11): Pavarotti’s debut with the Berlin Philharmonic (but not in Berlin as one might think!)

How time flies! Just the other day it was 40 years since the great Pavarotti made his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic. On the 24th of June 1974 Pavarotti joined the Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by the great Herbert von Karajan in Verdi’s Requiem.

However, this performance didn’t take place in Berlin as one might think, but in the Musikverein in Vienna, Austria.

It looks like Pavarotti didn’t sing with the Berlin Philharmonic in Berlin at all, at least not with Karajan, according to this source.

I haven’t found any evidence that Pavarotti sang with the Berlin Philharmonic in the post-Karajan period either, but I may have overlooked something.

Pavarotti did however also sing with the Berlin Philharmonic in the Großes Festspielhaus in Salzburg, Austria, and at the Carnegie Hall in New York, USA, all with Karajan conducting.


So lets look at the facts for the performance on that historic day 40 years ago:

Herbert von Karajan (conductor), Berliner Philharmoniker (orchestra), Wiener Singverein (choir)

Mirella Freni (soprano), Christa Ludwig (mezzo-soprano), Luciano Pavarotti (tenor), José van Dam (bass-baritone)

Musikverein, Vienna, Austria (venue), 24th of June 1974 (date)

It must be added that the Italian soprano Mirella Freni also made her debut with the Berlin Philharmonic in this performance.

What a historic performance it turned out to be! And before you start to ask: No recording of this performance excist as far as I know!


This post was first published 01-07-2014. Last revision 01-07-2014.

Pavarotti in Berlin (10): More arias from Pavarotti’s 1983 Berlin recital

Pavarotti held on 15th May 1983 a recital at the Deutsche Oper Berlin with John Wustman at the piano. There are many audio tracks from this recital out there on YouTube, so many that I think that the entire recital is out there!

In an earlier post I published four arias from that recital. Here are six more from that very same recital.

More about Pavarotti in Berlin in future blog posts!

Anyway, I’m off to Berlin! Soon! Very soon! 🙂







This post was originally published 11-04-2014. Last revision 11-04-2014.

Pavarotti in Berlin (9): Pavarotti in the wonderful city of music

Berlin is the city of music. Three opera houses and several concert halls and venues makes Berlin a wonderful city to visit for music lovers of any kind. And Berlin got it all. Opera, classical, pop, alternative. You name it. Berlin got it.

Outdoor venues, like Waldbühne, makes visiting Berlin in the summer time particularly rewarding. Berlin is in fact a stage in it self. Just watch the two wonderful promo videos below.

The last video is one more clip from a recital Pavarotti held at Deutsche Oper Berlin on 15th May 1983 with John Wustman at the piano. More clips here.

Enjoy life! Enjoy Berlin! There is so much more to explore.




This post was originally published 11-07-2013. Last revision 11-07-2013.

Pavarotti sings Tosti’s song “Non t’amo più“ on record

The more I listen to Pavarotti when he sings the wonderful song “Non t’amo più“ by the Italian composer Tosti, the more beautiful it gets.

There are two official audio recordings of Pavarotti singing “Non t’amo più“, one with orchestra and one with piano accompaniment.

The first Pavarotti recording of this song is on the studio album “Pavarotti in concert” with Richard Bonynge conducting the Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna. This album was recorded in 1973, originally issued on Decca LP in 1975, and is today available on Decca CD, download and streaming.

This Pavarotti recording of “Non t’amo più“ is also available on several Pavarotti compilation CDs.


The second Pavarotti recording of this song is on the live album “Live Recital” (also known as “40th Anniversary“). On this album Pavarotti sings the song accompanied by Leone Magiera on piano. This album was recorded live in several European cities between 1997 and 1999, and was originally issued on Decca CD in 2001, and is also available on Decca download and streaming.


At least one more live version of this song sung with piano accompaniment is available on several unofficial Pavarotti recital CDs. It might be the version on the video below (audio only), which is from a Pavarotti recital at Deutsche Oper Berlin on 15th May 1983 accompanied on piano by John Wustman.

Still hurting inside? Listen and weep a bit more! Then it’s time to move on!

This post was originally published 18-01-2013. Last revision 18-01-2013.

Pavarotti in Berlin (8): Pavarotti’s 1983 Berlin recital

Pavarotti held a recital at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 15th May 1983 with John Wustman at the piano.

Many audio tracks from this recital is now available on YouTube, so many that I think that the entire recital is out there!

On November 1987 Pavarotti and  John Wustman held a similar recital at the Carnegie Hall in New York which is available on Decca CD. The programme for this recital was somewhat different from the Berlin recital, but is nevertheless very much recommended.

Here are four arias from the Berlin recital. More to come in another Pavarotti in Berlin blog post!

But, if you can’t wait: Go to YouTube now for the rest of this recital!

Anyway, I’m off to Berlin! Soon! Very soon!




Pavarotti in Berlin (7): My big Berlin trip is approaching!

My big Berlin trip is approaching. I’ve already presented my Pavarotti related Berlin preparations. Now it’s time to look at how the Italians have put a mark on Berlin.

I’m now reading a wonderful book called “Italien in Berlin” by Gianluca Falanga (Berlin: be.bra verlag, 2006), about the Italian influence on Berlin. It’s in German, but I’m managing quite well!

Haven’t found anything about Pavarotti in this book so far, but the Italian conductor Claudio Abbado is mentioned as one of the prominent Berlin-Italians.

Claudio Abbado was principal conductor for the Berlin Philharmonic (Berliner Philarmoniker) for 1989 – 2002, and one of Pavarotti’s many conductors.

This book is highly recommended if you, like me, want to discover more about the Italian culture in Berlin. The book can also be used as a guidebook as it has a long list of addresses you’ll just have to visit when you’re in Berlin!

Today’s first four videos are Italian pop songs about Berlin! The last two videos are classic German pop songs about Berlin!

And that’s my friends is how you prepare a little visit to Berlin!