My first experience with Pavarotti was only in the late 70s, when he was
with the Met on tour in Dallas in Tosca with Magda Olivero. He had been
suffering from a cold, I understand, and had been cancelling performance
before and after the one I saw. He was, therefore, singing rather
carefully. But beautifully! I had never heard tenor sound like that in
my life. Especially in the Act I duet, his voice came up to me in my
balcony seat and simply tickled my ear drum. Even thyough he was under
the weather, he stayed outside the auditorium to sign autographs (though
it was very lovely warm weather.) I'm not sure, but I think that
performance was issued by Ed Rosen on LP on the HRE label.
But no recording can capture the caressing quality of the sound I heard
that night. I had been mightily impressed by his by then many recordings,
but I was unprepared for what I actually heard.
BTW, on the Gala label there is a recital concert with Pavarotti, from Los
Angeles, I think (I'm at work). It is a disc that should not be ignored:
it presents his voice the closest in quality to the sound I heard that
night. The miking is reasonably close for presence, but distant enough to
give the caressing quality of the voice at its best.
FRANCO di CHICAGO