DONIZETTI L'Elisir d'amore / Sutherland, Pavarotti 4787811

. . . [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.

The "L'elisir" set was one of the loveliest things Sutherland ever did on record . . . As Donizetti's Adina she is charming -- touching, exuberant, virtuoso (her coloratura is astounding), and always very human. Pavarotti is a perfect Nemorino, his lyric tenor made for the role. With Spiro Malas a characterful Dulcamara and Bonynge drawing fizzing playing from the ECO, this is a delight.