In 2004, any recording by Luciano Pavarotti (Decca`s own house tenor) will seem great to many people. But not so much because of Pavarotti, but more so because there aren`t any really good tenors today. On this CD, there is however just too much of Pavarotti. He doesn`t sound romantic(Bohème or Madama Butterfly) and certainly not dramatic(Pagliacci).
His voice, although he sings with some freedom and brilliance in the upper register when his breathing allows it, does not evoke exstacy or other overwhelming feelings. But he is certainly famouse, no doubt about that. This CD is for beginners in Opera.
And therefore it is OK. But Pavarotti is merely one of many good singers, and there were better singers and greater artists before him. Two of them are certainly present on this disc; Jussi Björling in the tremendous aria from Fedora, which he sings with burning passion and with supreme vocal control seemingly without breathing, and Renata Tebaldi in Puccini`s aria from Gianni Schicchi. It should be added that these two fantastic singers together still hold an unbeatable curtain-call record at the Metropolitan from a Tosca performance in February 1957. It is enough to say that there has been no tenor to match Björling`s vocal brilliance ever since, and probably not many sopranos to match La Tebaldi either.