PUCCINI Madama Butterfly / Freni,Pavarotti,Karajan 4787819
. . . [all three releases] capture the great tenor in his prime during the early 1970's. The sound quality is superb and the entire package (which contains the full libretto with essays about each opera and Pavarotti's career as well as photos taken at the sessions) is treasurable . . . ["Turandot" CD]: Conductor Zubin Mehta, conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra, obviously relishes the music and the exquisite cast . . . [Joan Sutherland] is majestic in the part . . . [the moving Li¨] is the extraordinary Spanish soprano, Montserrat CaballÚ. Even the supporting roles are first-rate: bass Nicolai Ghiaurov as Timur and tenor Peter Pears as the Imperatore . . . ["Madama Butterfly"]: Soprano Mirella Freni was perhaps the greatest Puccini soprano of the late 20th century and ranks in this role with Victoria de los Angeles . . . and Renata Scotto (another wonderful singing actress). Pavarotti makes the hard-hearted American sound charming and delivers a beautiful love duet with Freni. There was probably no better Suzuki than Christa Ludwig . . . ["L'Elisir d'amore"]: Pavarotti's rendition of "Una Furtiva Lagrima" (the most famous aria in the opera) has to be counted among the finest renditions of the piece. Sutherland is amusing as Adina and of course her singing is brilliant . . . These three opera recordings are perfect gifts for opera fans, but buy one for yourself as well.
. . . [no one] could come close to Decca's sound in emphasizing realistic balances between the soloists and orchestra . . . This sumptuously casted performance undoubtedly has the best singing of any "Madama Butterfly" recording . . . Pavarotti was in a class by himself at this point in his career . . . The final scene is overwhelming . . . this is probably the best-sounding "Madama Butterfly" ever recorded, and the Blu-ray audio disc is the sonically preferred version.