The ICONS series on the Green Umbrella label is a range of compilation CDs offering recordings from various dates and venues of some of music's most famous artists.
This double CD offers many of the popular pieces from operas in which Pavarotti performed, including those by Donizetti, Bellini, Mozart, Puccini, Verdi and Rossini. Many are taken from live performances, as is evident from the rapturous applause which greets their ending, and some feature one or more accompanying artists, which sadly are not mentioned (nor are the orchestras or choirs) in the sleeve credits.
Also not documented are the performance dates and venues, but judging by the sound quality of the opening `Nessun dorma' these are early recordings - the vocals sound like Pavarotti is singing from his dressing room bathroom while the orchestra and choir appear to emanate from somewhere at the back of the hall and the audience sound like a noisy football crowd in the streets outside!
But the singing is the important issue, and Pavarotti's voice here is in fine shape, from before his declining health of later years could dilute the range and agility which kept audiences entertained for so long. The sleeve notes by Roland Jones provide a short (two pages) but concise biography of Pavarotti's life, written in 2006 the year before the singer died.
If good recordings are high priority, better to look at some of the Three Tenors concerts or the Decca label releases (one from 1997, another as a tribute in 2007) entitled `Ultimate Collection', but this ICON collection is good value for a sample of Pavarotti at his operatic best, it's just a shame about the lack of information accompanying the tracks.