Picks and Pans Review: Christmas with Luciano Pavarotti

updated 12/05/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/05/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

Somebody apparently forgot to tell Luciano the part about its being the season to be jolly. This stodgy, going-on-grim 1979 concert, also shot in Montreal's Notre-Dame church, comes across as formal in the extreme. For one thing, while Pavarotti sings his Christmas music in a number of languages, none of them is English (a fact which, inexcusably, is not noted on the box). And while his Ave Maria is predictably stunning, he is relentlessly phlegmatic. Most of the time he stands expressionless, never showing the slightest hint of warmth as he performs. He doesn't even smile reassuringly at the petrified-looking little child of the Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal who steps forward to join him for a short duet. Pavarotti is accompanied by the Symphony Orchestra under Franz-Paul Decker and the Disciples de Massenet chorus, who might well have received equal billing, since they pretty much share the 60-minute tape with the star. (Video Treasures, $9.98)

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