OP3168. UN BALLO IN MASCHERA, w.Abbado Cond.Vienna Staatsoper Ensemble; Piero Cappuccilli, Luciano Pavarotti, Gabriele Lechner, Ludmilla Schemstchuk, Magda Nadar, etc. (Austria) 2-Orfeo C 907 162 I, Live Performance, 26 Oct., 1986. [In stunning aural clarity - a thrilling performance brilliantly conducted by Abbado!] - 4011790907222
"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 as 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."
"Pavarotti's first teachers were Arrigo Pola and Ettore Campogalliani, and his first breakthrough came in 1961, when he won an international competition at the Teatro Reggio Emilia. He made his début as Rodolfo in Puccini’s LA BOHEME later that year."
- Bernard Holland, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 6 Sept., 2007
“Though Piero Cappuccilli never achieved international stardom, he was enormously admired within the field of opera for his rich and abundant voice, fine vocal technique and exceptional breath control. In the great Italian tradition he fused words and music into elegant phrases. He focused on Italian repertory, particularly the operas of Verdi, singing 17 major rôles. Some critics found his full-voiced singing blunt and burly. And in striving for expressive restraint, he could sometimes come across as stiff. But at his best, with his handsome physique and vocal authority, he made a powerful impact onstage.
In 1960, just three years into his professional career, he was tapped by the producer Walter Legge to sing the rôle of Enrico in a recording of LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR, starring Maria Callas and conducted by Tullio Serafin. That EMI work remains a classic. In the mid-1970's, Claudio Abbado chose him for the title rôles in Verdi's SIMON BOCCANEGRA and MACBETH at La Scala. These productions led to studio recordings that remain prized by opera buffs.”
- Anthony Tommasini, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 21 July, 2005