Luciano Pavarotti: The best recordings

We name the greatest examples of the legendary tenor on disc and DVD

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Donizetti
La fille du régiment
Joan Sutherland etc; Royal Opera House/Richard Bonynge
Decca 414 5202

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Pavarotti plays the ebullient young peasant to perfection.

Bellini 
I Puritani
Joan Sutherland; Royal Opera House/Richard Bonynge
Decca 417 5882

Pavarotti subdues his extrovert energy to style and elegance, alongside a strong cast.

Verdi
Rigoletto (DVD)
Edita Gruberova, Ingvar Wixell etc; Vienna Staatsoper/Riccardo Chailly
DG 073 4166

Jean-Pierre Ponnelle’s heavily stylized, ornate but often impressive cinematic account is dominated by Pavarotti with surprising sexual charge.

Puccini
La bohème
Mirella Freni etc; Deutsche Oper Berlin/Herbert von Karajan
Decca 421 0492

Freni and Pavarotti make meltingly believable young lovers.

Puccini
Turandot
Joan Sutherland, Montserrat Caballé etc; John Alldis Choir, London Philharmonic Orchestra/Zubin Mehta
Decca 414 2742

Pavarotti’s passionately perceptive, unforced Calaf matches Sutherland’s unlikely Ice Princess.

Mozart
Idomeneo (DVD)
Frederica von Stade, Ileana Cotrubas etc; Metropolitan Opera/Levine

James Levine’s reading is traditional but not crushingly heavyweight, there is a high-powered cast, and Pavarotti is charismatic as the embattled king. 

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