A well-balanced overview of the Luciano Pavarotti's illustrious career, The Ultimate Collection is a double-disc best-of compilation showcasing 21 of the Italian tenor's operatic classics on its first disc and 20 of his classical crossover favorites on its second. The arias compiled on the first disc span three decades, dating from 1968 to 1997, while the pop-crossover songs on the second disc span two decades, dating from 1974 to 1995. There's a wonderful range of music showcased on The Ultimate Collection, and while some opera aficionados might balk at some of the inclusions on the second disc (for instance, the duet with Frank Sinatra on "My Way" or the duet with Andrea Bocelli on "Notte 'E Piscatore"), the fact of the matter is that Pavarotti often flirted with the pop mainstream, especially during the '90s, and so a bit of his pop-crossover material is rightly included, even if it's slight in comparison to much of what's found on the first disc. Aficionados aside, neophytes looking for an ideal entry point into Pavarotti's back catalog of recording output are well-served by The Ultimate Collection. It covers practically all sides of his career, and the decision to split the discs evenly between operatic classics and classical crossover favorites does listeners a favor, particularly those who prefer one side of Pavarotti to another.