HD-Vinyls 96/24 (Decca) G. Donizetti – La Favorita (Cossotto/Pavarotti)

Big P. as his best and from 1974, on the top of his carrer!
Reup, now with FF + RS links

# Composer: Gaetano Donizetti
# Performer: Fiorenza Cossotto, Luciano Pavarotti, Ileana Cotrubas, Nicolai Ghiaurov
# Orchestra: Orchestra of Teatro Comunale di Bologna
# Conductor: Richard Bonynge
# Vinyl (1974)
# Format: FLAC (tracks)
# Label: Decca
# DR-Analysis: DR 14
# Size: 3.06 GB
# Scan: yes
# Server: FF, RS

I know that Pav’s voice is not for everyone, but I think, here, it’s close to ideal, and one of his best.

Youthful and fresh, ardent, not generalized as tenors can be. In fact, his reading of ‘Spirto gentil’ might be the finest vocal acting you’ll hear from him. He deploys an achingly melancholy tone color (not the embarassing old-school Italian tenor sobs) that brought me close to tears. I know! I was appalled at myself for getting misty at Pav of all people, but it’s rather heartbreaking. And then he uses a darker color for the lower notes, indicating anger and sense of betrayal.

Combined with his involved, forceful delivery in the rest of the piece (especially the notorious high D-flat: squillo squillo squillo!), he basically steals the show from Cossotto (and tries valiantly to get the lead out of Bonynge’s baton).

I hate to be critical of Flo, but as the Penguin Guide mustily puts it, she’s below her best here. Penguin alludes to the recording sessions being difficult, and I have read other accounts of Flo’s disagreeable nature- maybe she was worn out from fighting with Bonynge? Regardless, while the rock solid bottom notes are completely there, and the wonderful color of middle voice (sometimes sounding like Caballe) is as good as ever, the top is not so hot. The high notes are unfocused at best, and she badly misjudges a high B (I think it’s a B) at the end of the first duet with Pav. He nails it, she doesn’t, and the result is pretty awful.

However, on the whole, it’s still good, dramatic, incisive singing and all fully within a bel canto frame– except for the high notes, it’s just the kind of quality you want for this role (this ain’t Lucia).

Also noteworthy: while Bacquier and Ghiaurov are not completely flawless, they do deliver the goods here, both of them doing some highly effective, unusually soft singing to very great effect. Despite a couple of sloppy gear changes, Bacquier does a superb job with Alfonso’s cavatina and caballeta (perhaps the finest thing for baritone that Donizetti ever wrote, and the blueprint for many Verdi baritone arias to come). And talk about embarassment of riches: Cotrubas in the coprimo role of Ines! Her solo with female chorus is just lovely.

As far as ‘La Favorita’ itself goes- if you’ve heard about the influence that Donizetti had on Verdi and wondered what all the fuss was about, here is proof positive. The impact on Verdi is apparent from the remarkable overture- clearly the model for Verdi’d ‘Forza’ overture. If you know anyone who thinks of Donizetti as an assembly-line worker who just cranked out hits with little thought to ‘art’, play the ‘Favorita’ overture for him. It’s head and shoulders above most of the rest of his instrumental work.

In the last act, we find out where Verdi got the idea for his many scenes featuring the star singer with a chorus of monks and/or nuns offstage. ‘Favorita’ is even a clear inspriation for ‘Don Carlo’, complete with a King who sings a wistful aria about a woman and then faces off with a representative of the Church.

It’s unfortunate that the Italian librettists mangled the original French libretto, introducing some story changes that don’t make sense (even in operatic terms), and thus it’s unfortunate that Bonynge and crew did not record the original French. But then, you know how Italian singers are about other languages: mai!

 Analyzed folder: /Users/alfredo/Desktop/ HiResMusic/96kGD_Fav_LuPa/96k Donizetti – La Favorita (Cossotto-Pavarotti)
 DR        Peak        RMS        Filename
 DR15        -1.10 dB     -21.73 dB     side1.wav
 DR14        -1.26 dB     -19.67 dB     side2.wav
 DR15        -0.18 dB     -20.85 dB     side3.wav
 DR13        -1.52 dB     -19.48 dB     side4.wav
 DR12        -1.12 dB     -18.38 dB     side5.wav
 DR13        -1.26 dB     -19.83 dB     side6.wav
 Number of files:    6
 Official DR value:    DR14


Ripping Infos

  • RCM: Okki Nokki
  • TT: Clearaudio Champion Level II
  • System: Special Edition Denon DL 103
  • Phono stage: Pro-Ject Phono Box II
  • Pre Amp: Unison Research Unico Pre (Tube)
  • Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
  • Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
  • Software: iZotope RX Advanced v2.02, Adobe Audition CS 5.5 -> Wave 32 bit/96 kHz
  • Light de-Clicking with ClickRepair, significant clicks manually removing, no De-Noising

You hear some clicks and pops here and there? Who cares?
I better let some light anomalies instead of destroying the music. Enjoy the music, not the ticks & pops.

  • DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
  • Converting Wave 32bit/96kHz -> Flac 24bit/96kHz: Twisted Wave
  • Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5


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12 thoughts on “HD-Vinyls 96/24 (Decca) G. Donizetti – La Favorita (Cossotto/Pavarotti)

    • yeah pal….but what a pity, that i was not in this community some months ago (march 25) to celebrate the 100th (!!!) birthday of one of the (maybe THE) greatest sopranos of this our milky way….

      Guess who and i keep you in adoption 😆

  1. I could get a “leak” from Wiki, for sure, but.. can not cheat my Guru 😆
    Enlighten me, sagacious Rakhman, who is this Nightingale of Haven?!

    • She is the soprano that once made possible, that Callas became hysteric and leaved the opera with blasphemic words that were heard in a distance of two miles…the “PERFECT” dramatic soprano that used daily to eat 3-4 callas’ for breakfast 🙂
      For me the greatest soprano ever: MAGDA OLIVERO – Cilea wanted Magda for the “Adriana” and made possible that she returned on stage again after several years. She was on stage even in 1981 for the last time (Adriana di Lecouvruer, of course) at the age of 71 (!) but she sung further with +80 (!!!) years

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