Notes & Reviews:
Luciano Pavarotti's repertoire comprised only a few roles, but his performances and recordings of them wrote and rewrote history. This was the case in 1970 as Nemorino (in L'elisir d'amore) alongside Joan Sutherland and in 1972 as Rodolfo (in La Bohème) under Karajan, with Mirella Freni als Mimí. But while Pavarotti's Riccardo (Gustavo III) in Verdi's Un ballo in maschera in his studio recording of 1983 is given pride of place because of its surface brilliance (not least thanks to Georg Solti on the podium), in his live TV broadcast of the same role three years later under Claudio Abbado he offers a striking sense of musical and dramatic immediacy. In this recording of that broadcast from the Vienna State Opera, we can hear a performance both highly nuanced and possessed of an immense radiance, from his very first "Amici mei" to his touching death scene.
Gramophone Magazine, July 2016
[Pavarotti] was on some form this evening, fearless in the high tessitura of the 'Teco io sto' duet... the second hero of this performance is Claudo Abbado, who piles on the tension without ever pressing too much... there's no shortage of emotion but little sentimentality... I would place this set very high up the recommendable list for this opera.