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The Best

by Luciano Pavarotti
It's hard to argue with the title of this compilation: Not only does it offer a selection of "the best" recordings Luciano Pavarotti made over the past four decades, but it also goes a long way toward proving that Pavarotti was "the best" tenor of his generation. Sure, Plácido Domingo


It's hard to argue with the title of this compilation: Not only does it offer a selection of "the best" recordings Luciano Pavarotti made over the past four decades, but it also goes a long way toward proving that Pavarotti was "the best" tenor of his generation. Sure, Plácido Domingo has shown broader artistic ambitions, and José Carreras, for a time at least, may have had the most luscious voice of the Three Tenors. But Pavarotti's talent played second fiddle to none at the peak of his career. Celebrating his 70th birthday, this two-disc set will show you why he became a star -- a singer whose name is practically synonymous with opera itself. Disc 1 is a survey of the greatest arias for tenor: from Donizetti in the early 19th century to Puccini 100 years later, with a heavy dose of Verdi as the main course. Many of these performances come from the tenor's complete opera recordings of the 1970s and '80s, featuring costars like Joan Sutherland and Mirella Freni. All of Pavarotti's most acclaimed stage roles are here: Cavardossi in Tosca, the Duke in Rigoletto (a perfect "La donna è mobile" to begin the program), and, of course, Calaf in Turandot, with the "Nessun dorma" to end all "Nessun dormas." Disc 2 offers a different kind of pleasure: popular Italian songs by Tosti, Bixio, and di Capua ("'O sole mio") -- tunes that Pavarotti transforms into high art through the sheer force his vocal charisma. Perhaps most valuable of all to the serious Pavarotti collector are the last three tracks: Tosca and Rigoletto excerpts from his very first Decca recording, dating back to 1964, his gleaming voice captured in the full bloom of youth. Not the first and surely not the last, this Pavarotti compilation nevertheless can honestly claim to be "the best."

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
Few operatic tenors of the 20th century were more honored than Luciano Pavarotti, and none were as popular; his fame went far beyond the usual boundaries of classical music and his music was as widely embraced as any pop star. The Best is a two-disc collection released in 2005 that features 35 classic arias from Pavarotti's recordings for the Decca and London labels, including selections by Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti, Leoncavallo, Tosti, and Centonze.

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Luciano Pavarotti   Primary Artist,Tenor (Vocal)
Joan Sutherland   Soprano (Vocal)
Henry Mancini   Conductor
London Symphony Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Piero Odorici   Saxophone
John Alldis   Choir Master
National Philharmonic Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Herbert von Karajan   Conductor
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
English Chamber Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
London Philharmonic Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Rob Mathes   Conductor
Antonella Pepe   Soprano (Vocal)
Richard Bonynge   Conductor
Zubin Mehta   Conductor
New Philharmonia Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Nicola Rescigno   Conductor
Giancarlo Chiaramello   Conductor
Georg Solti   Conductor
Anton Guadagno   Conductor
Mirella Freni   Soprano (Vocal)
Alberto Bartoli   Percussion
Riccardo Chailly   Conductor
Marco Tamburini   Trumpet
Romano Musumarra   Conductor
Peter Maag   Conductor
Edward Downes   Conductor
Giuseppe Patanè   Conductor
Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus and Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Russell Burgess   Choir Master
Veris "Pecos" Giannetti   Tenor (Vocal)
Stefano "Tellus" Nanni   Piano,Conductor
Fabio Sartoni   Drums
London Opera Chorus   Choir, Chorus
Lorin Maazel   Conductor
Wandsworth School Boys' Choir   Choir, Chorus
Michele Centonze   Guitar
Piero Gamba   Conductor
Eric Garrett   Baritone (Vocal)
Oliviero de Fabritiis   Conductor
Rolando Panerai   Bass (Vocal)
Kameron Brown   Double Bass
Scala Theater Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
John Alldis Choir   Choir, Chorus
Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus   Choir, Chorus
Orchester di Roma della RAI   Performing Ensemble
Philharmonia Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Bologna Community Theater Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Roberto Rossi   Trombone

Technical Credits

Henry Mancini   Arranger
Franco Alfano   Librettist
Rob Mathes   Arranger
Giancarlo Chiaramello   Arranger
Luca Barbarossa   Lyricist
Alexander Faris   Arranger
Douglas Gamley   Arranger
Renato Simoni   Librettist
Giuseppe Adami   Librettist
Francesco Cimmino   Lyricist
Riccardo Cordiferro   Lyricist
Stefano "Tellus" Nanni   Arranger
Giovanni Capurro   Lyricist
Giuseppe Giacosa   Librettist
Luigi Illica   Librettist
Michele Centonze   Composer
James Jolly   Liner Notes
Francesco Maria Piave   Librettist
Rudolph W. Giuliani   Liner Notes
Salvatore Cammarano   Librettist
Gabriele D'Annunzio   Lyricist
C. Errico   Lyricist
Felice Romani   Librettist
Jean-François Bayard   Librettist
Migliaccio   Lyricist
G.B. (Giambattista) de Curtis   Lyricist
Friedrich Wilhelm Riese   Librettist
Antonio Somma   Librettist
Jules Vernoy de Saint-Georges   Librettist
Eugène Scribe   Librettist
Domenico Oliva   Librettist
Antonio Ghislanzoni   Librettist
Carlo Pepoli   Lyricist

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