Bellini

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! ūüôā

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! ūüôā

Happy Australia Day everybody, especially my Australian followers! ūüôā

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