Pavarotti sings ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ in Notre-Dame Cathedral in spine-tingling 1978 video

7 December 2023, 08:48 | Updated: 7 December 2023, 08:50

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By Rosie Pentreath

A classic Christmas performance from the 20th century’s great tenor, at the height of his powers.

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As Christmas carols go, ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ is right up there with the most magnificent and rousing.

And who better to do the noble tune justice than the iconic Italian tenor, Luciano Pavarotti?

Here’s a vintage performance of Pavarotti lending his lungs to the Christmas favourite, in a magnificent cathedral acoustic. Recorded in the late 70s, when the legendary singer was at his operatic peak, with his unforgettable voice at its luminous best. Take a listen below.

Read more: Who was Luciano Pavarotti? How this Italian tenor became the world’s most famous opera star

Luciano Pavarotti - Montreal - 1978 - Adeste Fideles

In 1978, Pavarotti performed a televised Christmas concert at Notre Dame Cathedral in Montréal, with the Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal and Les Disciples de Massenet choirs.

His rendition of ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ with the choirs, conducted by Franz-Paul Decker for the occasion, is spectacular and frankly spine-tingling.

Pavarotti’s magnificent voice more than matches the full sound of the choir, organ, congregation and orchestra, replete with booming brass, and it resonates impressively around the cavernous cathedral.

Read more: What are the lyrics to ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’, and who composed it?

Christmas At Notre Dame also featured Schubert’s ‘Ave Maria’, Franck's ‘Panis Angelicus’ and other Christmas favourites, and the film won the Christopher Society of New York award in 1981.

You can forgive us for having this ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ from it on repeat. Chills, every time.

Listen to non-stop festive classical music with our Classic FM Christmas playlist on Global Player.