Pavarotti in opera arias

Remember the 2011 Norway attacks: Music for comfort and hope

Five years have passed since the two terrible sequential terrorist attacks in Norway on 22 July 2011 known as “The 2011 Norway attacks”, in Norway just as “22 July” (“22. juli”). The lone wolf terrorist killed 77 persons an injured over four times as many.

I haven’t really got anything to add to what’s been said before during the last five years. You come to a point were there’s no words left. It’s all been said before, and even better by others. The important thing is to remember those who died, to honour their legacy, and to never let this happen again. To anybody.

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All I can offer here is music. I strongly believe in the power of music. Music can express love, loss, longing, anger and despair. Music can comfort, help and heal. Music can give people strength and hope.

The days, weeks and months that followed the 2011 attacks really showed the world the strengths of Norwegian society. It also showed that music really can give comfort and hope to people. The terrible facts remain: 77 lives are gone forever, mostly young people. Just starting out on their life’s journey. That’s still so hard to comprehend, even today.

If music can give some comfort and hope to somebody out there struggling I offer five beautiful arias, the first three sung by Pavarotti and the last two sung by the countertenor David Hansen:

  • “Caro mio ben” by Giordani
  • “Che farò senza Euridice” from “Orfeo e Euridice” by Gluck
  • “O figli miei … Ah, la paterna mano” from “Macbeth# by Verdi
  • “Ombra mai fu” from “Serse” by Handel
  • “When I am laid in earth” from “Dido and Aeneas” by Purcell

The photo above is from the Oslo government quarter where the 2011 attacks started. The H block (the tallest building) was housing the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Justice and the Police (the lowest building is the Y block). The photo is taken in August 2011, under a month after the attacks.

Never forget the 2011 Norway attacks!

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This blog post no. 313 was first published 22-07-2016. Last revision 22-07-2016.

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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.

German Pavarotti compilation

Almost every year there’s at least one new Pavarotti compilation on the market. Especially interesting are Pavarotti releases from different countries. There are seldom any new tracks on these compilations but they are never the less interesting and very welcome.

This year Decca in Germany released a single CD Pavarotti compilation for the German market entitled La donna è mobile.

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This compilation contains 21 tracks of mainly opera arias but also some popular Italian songs and one religious work is included. This CD is sold for a bargain price in stores and is also easily available online.

I love the picture of Pavarotti on the cover! 🙂

I believe it goes without saying that the following aria is included! 🙂

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

Pavarotti, Divas & Tenors

Essential to every opera lovers record collection is a decent sample of the most well-known and loved opera arias. Everybody needs a decent opera compilation or two in their record collection!

The compilation Divas & Tenors is a 2 CDs collection from Decca with mostly opera arias. In addition there are some arias from religious works, musicals and popular songs.

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This collection features some of the greatest opera singers in the world today and some great singers from the past such as Pavarotti. In fact, Pavarotti is featured on five tracks on this compilation.

This collection is one of many opera compilations out there so if you don’t find this one there are many others to choose from. Many of them features Pavarotti as well.

Pavarotti was a tenor but some said he also was a real diva, or divo, at times. Be that as it may. It’s time for you to buy yourself a brand new opera compilation! 🙂

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

Domingo: The 50 Greatest Tracks

The Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo is still active as a singer and conductor. It’s amazing how active he still is considering his high age. Needless to say Domingo was one of The Three Tenors together with Pavarotti and Carreras.

To celebrate his 75th birthday on 21 January, 2016, a 2 CDs compilation entitled Domingo: The 50 Greatest Tracks has just been released on Deutsche Grammophon. This compilation is also available on download and streaming.

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It’s interesting that the album artwork is the same as the Pavarotti compilation Pavarotti: The 50 Greatest Tracks from 2013.

This compilation contains a very good sample of the great Spanish tenor’s recordings on Deutsche Grammophon and Decca.

The Three Tenors are featured with “Nessun dorma!” from the first Three Tenors concert in Rome in 1990. Two arias by Domingo from the same concert is also featured on this compilation.

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

Ten Top Tenors: Pavarotti and the greatest tenors of our time

We love tenors! Of course we do! That’s why we’ll love this tenor compilation that just recently was issued on Decca.

The compilation is entitled “Ten Top Tenors” and is a 2 CDs compilation containing ten of the greatest tenors of our time singing 48 opera arias and songs.

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I addition to Pavarotti this compilation includes Carreras, Domingo, Bocelli, Alagna, Kaufmann, Wunderlich, Flórez, Villazón and Calleja.

Every tenor is well represented with several tracks. The first disc contains operatic arias and the second disc contains film themes, Neapolitan songs, Sicilian songs, sacred music and more.

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Pavarotti is represented with as many as 8 tracks on this tenor compilation. One of these are the Neapolitan song ‘O sole mio.

One might argue that there are some tenors that also should be included, but there’s no doubt that the ones that are included deserve to be so.

Yes, we do love tenors! 🙂

This post was first published 27-12-2015. Last revision 27-12-2015.