William Tell, best known for its overture, which was used as the Lone Ranger's theme song, was Rossini's final opera, and a magnificent, four-hour singfest it is. Tell is a baritone role, handsomely sung here by Sherrill Milnes, and the heroine is Matilde, who, as performed by Mirella Freni, has every bel canto trick in her repertoire and keeps her cool even during some wickedly fast and high music. But the most challenging role--and the reason the opera is rarely performed--is for the tenor, Arnold, who must sing 2 high C-sharps, 28 high Cs, and an undisclosed number of Bs and B-flats. And the role is as long and expressive as it is high. This is, arguably, Pavarotti's greatest perfomance on discs (he once said it was his best recording) and is a must for all opera lovers to boot. --Robert Levine
Guglielmo Tell: Sinfonia
Guglielmo Tell: Act One: 'E il ciel sereno, seren il giorno'
Guglielmo Tell: Act One: 'Il piccol legno ascendi' (Guglielmo)
Guglielmo Tell: Act One: 'Oh! quale alta d'intorno' (Guglielmo)
Guglielmo Tell: Act One: 'Al fremer del torrente'
Guglielmo Tell: Act One: 'Contro l'ardor del giorno' (Guglielmo)
Guglielmo Tell: Act One: 'Il mio giuro, egli disse?' (Arnoldo)
Guglielmo Tell: Act One: 'Arresta! Quali sguardi' (Guglielmo, Arnoldo)
Guglielmo Tell: Act One: 'Il sol che intorno splende'