Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor - Sills, Pavarotti, Banuelas, Hecht; Guadagno. Mexico City, 1969


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On paper Beverly Sills and Luciano Pavarotti seem like an odd pairing.  Although both singers rose to the heights of the operatic echelon, they did so from very different paths.  What this recording bares out, however, is how two great but contrasting artists can push each other to achieve even loftier heights.  Beverly Sills' unflagging commitment to the drama even in the face of monstrously difficult music is now the stuff of legend.  One senses Lucia's frailty from her opening lines and we watch (or in this case listen) as this heroine slowly becomes more and more unhinged.  Luciano Pavarotti, on the other hand, was never celebrated for his acting skills, however Sills seems to inspire his inner thespian in a way that Sutherland never did and he delivers an ardent and committed performance.  And then there is his voice.  This role shows off everything that was great about this tenor.  The voice is simply golden and his technique is unflinching faced with the demands of this role.  The way his voice soars stepwise to the high As in the last moments of the opera is just perfection.  Lovers of this opera and these singers must have this recording.  The sound is good although the first three minutes of the tenor's final scene missing.

Sills & Pavarotti sing scenes from I Puritani
January 18, 1972

OD 10600-2