Singers on Singing :
Luciano Pavarotti

Singers on Singing: Luciano Pavarotti

When hundreds and thousands of people flocked to Luciano Pavarotti’s park and stadium concerts, the audiences included not only connoisseurs of opera but also large numbers of people who rarely if ever go to the opera. Pavarotti became such a popular performer that it is dangerously easy to take for granted that he was a profoundly serious perfectionist who, from the time of his debut in 1961 until his death in 2007, was deeply admired by some of the leading conductors of his time, such as Tullio Serafin, Herbert von Karajan, Claudio Abbado, Carlos Kleiber, Sir Georg Solti and Riccardo Muti, and also stage directors such as Franco Zeffirelli and Luca Ronconi.

In this documentary that was made to celebrate his 70th birthday in 2005, Pavarotti’s qualities, vocally and theatrically, were assessed by musical experts including other opera singers, conductors and opera producers, and Pavarotti himself spoke in detail about the span of his life and career (including his early years studying singing), and some of his favourite roles. His exclusive interview was given to the producer Jon Tolansky, who visited him at his home in Pesaro.

The documentary is in two parts: Part One traces his history from his birth in 1935 up to the flowering of his international career. Part Two focuses on some of his most acclaimed operatic roles.

–Jon Tolansky

Listen to the documentary immediately below (Parts 1 & 2 included; total length of approx. 1 hour, 57 min.)

Jon Tolansky

Guest Artists included in this feature:

  • The late Luciano Pavarotti
  • The late Sir Edward Downes (Conductor)
  • The late Lady Joan Downes (Former Assistant Stage Director, Glyndebourne Opera)
  • Renée Fleming (Soprano)
  • Richard Hazell (Baritone)
  • Marilyn Horne (Mezzo soprano)
  • John Mordler (Former Director, Monte Carlo Opera)
  • Costa Pilavachi (Former President, Decca Music Group, now Senior Vice-President of Classical Arts and Repertoire, Universal Classics)
  • The late Christopher Raeburn (Former Head of Opera, Decca Records)
  • Robin Stapleton (Conductor)
  • Reg Suter (Former Stage Staff at Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and Founder of Amici di Verdi)
  • Bernard Dennis-Browne (Acquaintance and Connoisseur)

Musical excerpts included in this feature:
(If not specified, the opera extracts come from the appropriate opera recordings listed below)

  • “Cielo e mar” from La Gioconda (Ponchielli)
  • “Nessun Dorma” from Turandot (Puccini, from the album Pavarotti in Central Park)
  • “Che gelida manina” from La Bohème (Puccini)
  • “La donna è mobile” from Rigoletto (Verdi, from the album Favourite Italian Arias)
  • “Vedrommi intorno l’ombra dolente” from Idomeneo (Mozart)
  • “Ah mes amis, quel jour de fete” from La Fille du Régiment (Donizetti)
  • “Fra poco” from Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti)
  • Franck’s “Panis Angelicus” (from the album O Holy Night)
  • Adam’s “Cantique de Noël” (“O Holy Night,” from the album O Holy Night)
  • “Recondita Armonia” from Tosca (Puccini, from the album Gala Concert at Royal Albert Hall)
  • “E la solita storia del pastore” from L’arlesiana (Cilea, from the album Gala Concert at Royal Albert Hall)
  • “A te, o cara”, “Vieni, vieni fra queste braccia” and “Credeasi misera” from I Puritani (Bellini), with soprano Dame Joan Sutherland
  • “Fuor del mar” from Idomeneo (Mozart)
  • “La rivedrà nell’estasi,” “Non sai tu che se l’anima mia,” and “Ella è pura” from Un Ballo in Maschera (Verdi)
  • “Chi è là?…Scusi…Una donna!” from La Bohème (Puccini), with soprano Mirella Freni
  • “Ingemisco” from Verdi’s Requiem Mass
  • Tosti’s “Non t’amo più” (from the album The Best (Farewell Tour))
  • “Recondita Armonia” from Tosca (Puccini, from the album Pavarotti in Central Park)
  • “Ah! tu mi sfidi!” from I Pagliacci (Leoncavallo), with soprano Mirella Freni, baritone Ingvar Wixell, tenor Vincenzo Bello, and bass-baritone Lorenzo Saccomani
  • “Nessun Dorma” from Turandot (Puccini)

Related Resources


Saluting Caruso


Singers on Singing :
Montserrat Caballé


Singers on Singing :
Mirella Freni


Singers on Singing :
Dame Joan Sutherland

Part of

Singers on Singing: Great Artists in Conversation