Pavarotti's unheard recording premieres on Classic FM

2 August 2013, 00:01 | Updated: 15 October 2013, 12:35

The first-ever recording of the legendary tenor Luciano Pavarotti was be given its premiere play on Classic FM at 9am this morning.

The recording, which features Pavarotti singing 'Che gelida manina' from Puccini's La Bohéme, was kept in the singer's personal archive for 50 years until it was found by his widow after his death.

Classic FM's Nick Bailey (sitting in for John Suchet) had the pleasure of playing the aria on-air exclusively for the first time ever during his show, which begins at 9am today (Friday).

The newly-remastered aria will also feature on a new compilation from Decca entitled Pavarotti: The 50 Greatest Tracks, which will cover the tenor's entire career. It's being released to celebrate 50 years since Pavarotti's first British TV performance (on Bruce Forsyth's Saturday Night at the Palladium), 50 years since his Covent Garden debut and 50 years with Decca.

Pavarotti commented on his relationship with Decca before he died: "I have made so many wonderful recordings with Decca. The company has been a major part of my career – really, it has been part of my family."

His widow, Nicoletta Mantovani, commented: "It is so wonderful that Decca is keeping Luciano's memory alive in this way, particularly with the celebration of this momentous anniversary."