The 50 Best Recordings from the World’s Greatest Voice, of all time…


Including Pavarotti’s FIRST EVER recording, officially released for the first time, to mark:

– 50 Years since First British TV Performance, introduced by Bruce Forsyth

– 50 Years since Covent Garden Royal Opera House Debut

– 50 Years with Decca

50 years ago, the legendary Italian tenor made his first British TV appearance, on Sunday Night at the London Palladium (25/8). He was introduced to the stage by Bruce Forsyth.

Luciano Pavarotti had been horse-riding in Sussex that same afternoon when he received the last-minute call asking if he would stand in for an indisposed Giuseppe di Stefano on the hugely popular ITV show. Pavarotti has since told the story of his introduction to the millions of views that night, in which the audience was told that the artist they were about to hear had been on a horse all day (“Ladies and gentlemen , don’t judge how he is going to walk but judge him how he is going to sing!” – Bruce Forsyth).  The television performance was broadcast to 15 million viewers.

Around the same time, Pavarotti’s made his Royal Opera House, Covent Garden debut (21/9), again replacing an indisposed Giuseppe di Stefano. The role was Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Bohème. Greeted by standing ovations, the critics were unanimous in their praise of this new, young opera sensation.

Screen shot 2013-08-02 at 09.11.07

Photo: © Decca

The 27-year-old Pavarotti was almost immediately signed by Decca, the label he recorded with for his entire career. It went on to become the most successful operatic partnership in music industry history and one of the longest exclusive relationships an artist has ever experienced with a major label. Towards the end of his life, Pavarotti said, “I have made so many wonderful recordings with Decca. The company has been a major part of my career – really, it has been part of my family.”

These events represented a major turning point in Pavarotti’s life, catapulting him to international stardom.

To celebrate this anniversary, Decca is releasing the first recording ever made of Luciano Pavarotti’s voice. This historic recording of the aria from Puccini’s La Bohème, ‘Che gelida manina’ (‘Your tiny hand is frozen’), lay in Luciano Pavarotti’s own personal archives for 50 years. It was only after his death that the recording was unearthed by his widow, Nicoletta Mantovani, and the aria has now been re-mastered and is now made available to the general public for the first time.

This previously unreleased track is amongst the 50 best recordings ever made by the man who truly brought opera to the masses. His voice was introduced to millions of football fans the world over during the World Cup Italia coverage when ‘Nessun Dorma’ , from Puccini’s Turandot, was used by the BBC as the theme tune for its television coverage.  That same year, Luciano Pavarotti teamed up with Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras for a performance in Rome on the eve of the final of the World Cup. The Three Tenors went on to became an international sensation, bridging the gap between opera and pop culture.

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Photo: Decca / © Terry O’Neill

Pavarotti made no apologies for this mass popularisation, saying, “Some of the great opera arias are the best pop songs ever written”.

These 50 recordings, across just two CDs, have been digitally remastered for ‘Pavarotti 50 Greatest Tracks’, making this album the definitive collection derived from an unprecedented archive. Taking the listener on a journey from Nessun Dorma to Caruso, La Donna E Mobile to Granada, the collection also features duets with fellow superstars such as Frank Sinatra, Bono, Eric Clapton and Sting, making it a true celebration of the late opera star’s long and unprecedented career.

Says the Maestro’s widow, Nicoletta Mantovani, “it is so wonderful that Decca is keeping Luciano’s memory alive in this way, particularly with the celebration of this momentous anniversary. I am also greatly appreciative that the label is making a contribution to the Luciano Pavarotti Foundation* as part of these celebrations. Luciano was given extraordinary support at the start of his career and, in his final years, he founded a school for young opera singers, personally teaching many of them. He  believed passionately in the advancement of young people and the Foundation aims to continue helping young singers in his name.”

*Decca is making a minimum donation of €20,000 to the Luciano Pavarotti Foundation to help its work with young singers.



Release Date: September 2, 2013

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