Luciano Pavarotti

Pavarotti: The Greatest Hits

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The 2019 documentary film Pavarotti, directed by Ron Howard, has spawned not only an official soundtrack but several new collections attempting to piggyback on the nostalgia. This is all to the good, for it's been a while since a new Pavarotti collection has appeared. Here, from Decca, you get three CDs worth of the "King of the High Cs," in chronological order and covering several aspects of his career. The collection comes with the imprimatur of the Luciano Pavarotti Foundation. The first CD is devoted to opera arias, and there's not much to complain of here; the first part of Pavarotti's career, when his voice had a physically startling immediacy, is given its due. Fans of pure opera might object to the overall balance in representing Pavarotti's career here. The second CD is devoted to Italian popular songs, like Funiculì, Funiculà (sample this), and sacred songs. The third covers duets, some operatic, others with the likes of Mariah Carey, Eric Clapton, and even Lou Reed. There's nothing wrong with these, and they may represent a way into opera for new listeners brought to it by the film. However, taken as a whole, the collection overstates the role of popular music in Pavarotti's output. Certainly, he performed such music when he reached a level of superstardom where it made sense to do so, but it was more notable how he avoided it than how he did it. Even the Three Tenors, only lightly represented here, tended more to put across opera in a popular way than to sing pop. Pavarotti was undeniably enjoyable in whatever he did, though, and for many viewers of the film, this big collection will fill the bill.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Turandot
1 03:00
La Bohème
2 04:38
L' elisir d'amore
3 04:48
La fille du régiment
4 02:12
Rigoletto
5 02:22
Il Trovatore
6 02:11
Tosca
7 02:54
Pagliacci
8 02:49
Manon Lescaut
9 02:39
La Favorita
10 03:31
Carmen
11 04:29
La Bohème
12 04:13
Tosca
13 02:59
Werther
14 03:06
Martha
15 03:29
La Fanciulla del West
16 02:05
Aida
17 03:32
Der Rosenkavalier
18 02:21
Andrea Chenier
19 03:12
La Gioconda
20 05:08
Madama Butterfly
21 01:53
Fedora
22 01:46
L' Africaine
23 03:30
Rigoletto
24 01:58
La traviata
25 02:49

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Les Pécheurs de Perles
1 05:25
Otello
2 02:16
Beatrice di Tenda
3 02:42
4 05:05
5
feat: Zucchero
04:16
6 04:33
7
feat: Elton John
05:07
8
feat: Céline Dion
04:49
9
feat: Mariah Carey
04:20
10
feat: Eric Clapton
05:27
11 04:34
12
feat: Queen
04:32
13 05:04
14
feat: Sting
05:03
15
feat: Barry White
04:27
16
feat: James Brown
04:16
17
feat: Lou Reed
03:45
18 03:33
Turandot
19 02:58
blue highlight denotes track pick