Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
Simon Boccanegra - Preludio [2:26]
Ernani - Recitativo ed Aria: ‘Odi il voto’, atto
Attila - Oh dolore! Atto III [3:37]
Scena lirica per due tenori ed orchestra: ‘Io la vidi’,
I Due Foscari - Scene ed cavatina: ‘Dal più remoto
esilio’, atto I [5:07]
Cabaletta di Jacopo: ‘Sì lo sento, Iddio mi chiama’,
atto I [4:14]
Les vêpres siciliennes - Nouvelle romance pour M. Villaret:
‘Ô toi que j'ai chérie’, atto IV [3:54]
Aida - Sinfonia [11:02]
Luciano Pavarotti (tenor)
Antonio Savastano (tenor: Scena, Foscari scene),
Giuseppe Morresi (baritone: Ernani), Alfredo Giacometti
Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala/Claudio Abbado
rec. January 1978 and April 1980, CTC Studios, Milan, Italy
WARNER CLASSICS 2564 64653-8 [42:47]
I had this all-Verdi recording when it first came
out on vinyl in 1981 on CBS Masterworks 74037. At that stage it was
entitled Pavarotti Premieres. Now it has been reissued on Warner
Classics and renamed Giuseppe Verdi Rarities. At the time it
was marketed as the first recording of rare Verdi arias. This is a reissue
for which I have been waiting anxiously mainly owing to the amazing
high notes Pavarotti achieves in a rarely heard cabaletta from
I Due Foscari.
Verdi was very conscious of the demands of great tenors of his day who
with their popular following could make or break an opera première.
In view of this Verdi wrote a number of additional or alternative arias
especially for the star tenors. Some of these were being recorded here
for the first time after being rediscovered in various archives.
The recitative and aria ‘Odi il voto’ from act 2
of Ernani,part of the aria con cori, was commissioned
by Rossini for Russian tenor Nikolai Ivanov. Here Pavarotti as the bandit
Ernani is joined by baritone Giuseppe Morresi as Iago and bass Alfredo
Giacometti as Silva. Displaying impeccable control Pavarotti’s
sweet, fluid tone is a treat to hear. For my money he was peerless in
Next is the aria ‘Oh dolore!’from act 3 of
Attila, an Adagio that Verdi composed for the tenor Napoleone
Maoriani. As the knight Foresto, Pavarotti has much work in his rich
lower register; this he displays to splendid advantage.
A very early work from 1833, the scena lirica ‘Io la
vidi’ for two tenors and orchestra was written by Verdi to
a text by Calisto Bassi. It seems that ‘Io la vidi’
is a fragment thought to be from an opera that Verdi never completed.
Unless I’m mistaken the notes to this reissue have incorrectly
put the work under the heading of the opera Attila. For ‘Io
la vidi’ Pavarotti is joined by tenor Antonio Savastano.
In the scene and cavatina ‘Dal più remoto esilio’
from act I of I Due Foscari Pavarotti’s voice, accompanied
by tenor Antonio Savastano, is clearly in exceptionally fine condition.
Following straight on is Jacopo’s cabaletta ‘Sì
lo sento, Iddio mi chiama’, a replacement for the normal aria
which was discovered in the Bibliothèque nationale de France
in Paris. Verdi had written the cabaletta especially to demonstrate
the extremely high range of the high tenor Mario, Count of Candia. In
this curiously attractive work Pavarotti is twice called to soar rapidly
into falsetto. There are two top E flats before we plummet into more
natural terrain. Full of dark mystery Jacopo’s cavatina
and cabaletta impressively display the qualities of Pavarotti’s
From act 4 of the grand opera Les vêpres siciliennes the
nouvelle romance ‘Ô toi que j'ai chérie’
is an alternative aria to ‘O jour de peine’.
One of the highlights of this release, the Largo was tailor-made
for the voice of French tenor François-Pierre Villaret.
Commencing and ending this reissue are a pair of overtures that were
not included in the final edition of each opera. Verdi consigned them
to a drawer. The Preludio is from the first version of Simon
Boccanegra. The Sinfonia was intended for the first performance
of Aida. To set the scenes for the action to follow each overture
quickly establishes and maintains that special contrast of drama and
Set down some 35 years ago the sound engineers have provided a satisfyingly
clear and well balanced recording. I notice that it has been re-astered
before release. As I loved every minute of this reissue I will make
an exception for its short playing time. It is good to hear Pavarotti
singing rare Verdi repertoire to which he seems so well suited. As one
might expect under maestro Abbado the Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala
di Milano is totally at home in this repertoire.