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WQXR Features

From the Vaults: George Jellinek Pays Tribute to Pavarotti and Freni

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A trip into the WQXR archives brings us a 2000 episode of The Vocal Scene in which the late host George Jellinek pays tribute to opera's great on-stage power couple: Luciano Pavarotti and Mirella Freni. As Mr. Jelinek reminds us, the two singers were childhood friends in Modena, Italy, and they went on to make many classic recordings together. This broadcast came in recognition of their 65th birthdays, both being born in 1935.

A particular focus is given to Pavarotti and Freni's early careers, starting with their joint appearances as Rodolfo and Mimi in La Bohème, a pivotal opera for the two singers. We hear them together in two separate live recordings from 1967. Also included is a 1969 performance of Donizetti's La Fille du Regiment; the "Cherry Duet" from Mascagni's L'amico Fritz; love duets from La Traviata, Gianni Schicchi, L'Elisir d'amore, and more. 

Courtesy of the WQXR Collection-NYPR Archives