Released shortly after Luciano Pavarotti's death, The Duets is a star-studded compilation of previously released material oriented toward the popular music market. Each song finds Pavarotti singing alongside a different pop star, most of them English-speaking Anglo-Americans. Some of this material is familiar from previous compilations, for instance, Pavarotti's duet with Frank Sinatra on "My Way" and his duet with Andrea Bocelli on "Notte 'e Piscatore." Some of it is drawn from one of Pavarotti's charity concert albums, for instance his duet with Elton John on "Live Like Horses" from Pavarotti & Friends for War Child (1996), his duet with Bon Jovi on "Let It Rain" from Pavarotti & Friends for the Children of Liberia (1998), and his duet with Mariah Carey on "Hero" from Pavarotti & Friends for Guatemala and Kosovo (1999). There are also songs on which Pavarotti was a featured guest, for instance his duet with Céline Dion on "I Hate You Then I Love You" from her album Let's Talk About Love (1997) and his duet with U2 on "Miss Sarajevo" from their Passengers album Original Soundtracks 1 (1995). Other duet partners on The Duets include Eric Clapton, Sting, Zucchero, Lionel Richie, Brian Adams, Sheryl Crow, and Eurythmics. There's definitely a lot of star power to behold, and there are more than a few awe-inspiring performance to be heard. Pavarotti fans who favor his latter-day popular music side should find plenty to enjoy here. On the other hand, those who don't care for his popular music side shouldn't bother. There's no question that its greatest asset is the star power on display rather than the performances themselves. Consequently, if you're unimpressed by the guest list, you're left with an uneven compilation whose highlights are better heard elsewhere in a more fitting context.
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier
|Don Giovanni, opera, K. 527|