The Three Tenors

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Plácido Domingo, José Carreras, and Luciano Pavarotti

The Three Tenors is a name given to the Spanish singers Plácido Domingo and José Carreras and the Italian singer Luciano Pavarotti, who sang in concert under this banner during the 1990s and early 2000s. The trio began their collaboration with a performance at the ancient Baths of Caracalla, in Rome, Italy, on 7 July 1990 – the eve of the 1990 FIFA World Cup Final. Zubin Mehta conducted the orchestra of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and the orchestra of Teatro dell'Opera di Roma.[1]


Italian producer Mario Dradi conceived the idea of the first concert in 1990 in Rome. It was held to raise money for Carreras's foundation, the José Carreras International Leukemia Foundation. It was also for his friends Domingo and Pavarotti a way to welcome Carreras back into the world of opera after his successful treatment for leukemia.[2]

The three subsequently sang together in concerts produced by Hungarian Tibor Rudas and other producers, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles to coincide the final match of the 1994 FIFA World Cup,[3] at the Champ de Mars under the Eiffel Tower during the 1998 FIFA World Cup,[4] and in Yokohama for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.[5][6] They also toured other cities around the world, usually performing in stadiums or similar large arenas.[7][8]

Following the big success of the 1990 and 1994 concerts, The Three Tenors opened a world tour of concerts during 1996-1997 period.[9][10][11] In 1996 they performed at Kasumigaoka Stadium in Tokyo, at Wembley Stadium in London, at Ernst Happel Stadion in Vienna, at Giants Stadium outside of New York, at Ullevi Stadium in Goteborg, at Olympic Stadium in Munich, at Rheinstadion in Düsseldorf and at BC Place in Vancouver on New Year's Eve.[12] In 1997 concerts followed at Cricket Ground in Melbourne, at Skydome in Toronto, at Pro Player Stadium in Miami and at Camp Nou in Barcelona. The tour was scheduled to end in Houston with a final concert which was eventually canceled due to very low ticket sales.[13][14]

Besides the '96-'97 world tour, The Three Tenors gave in addition two benefit concerts one in Modena the home town of Pavarotti in summer 1997 and one in Madrid the home town of Domingo in the following winter, in order to raise money for the rebuilding of the Teatro La Fenice in Venice and the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona as well as for the Queen Sofia Foundation.[15]

A second series of concerts outside of the FIFA World cup events held again in 1999 including cities like Tokyo, Pretoria and Detroit[16][17] followed by a Christmas concert in Vienna on December the same year. In 2000 the Three Tenors toured again performing live in San Jose, California, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Hamburg, Cleveland and Sao Paulo. However, the production had to cancel a planned concert for this tour in Albany, New York due to poor ticket sales.[18][19] One more benefit concert was given by The Three Tenors in December 2000 in Chicago to donate the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.[20] In 2001 two more concerts was given in Asia one in Seoul and one in Beijing inside the walls of the Forbidden City.[21] Finally in 2003 they performed in Bath at the Royal Crescent[22] and later in September the same year they gave their last Three Tenors' concert, which took place at the Schottenstein Center in Columbus, Ohio.[23]

A Three Tenors reunion concert was scheduled to take place in 2005 in Monterrey, Mexico but it was eventually modified due to Pavarotti's health problems and he was replaced by Mexican pop singer Alejandro Fernández.[24]

The concerts were a huge commercial success,[25] and were accompanied by a series of best-selling recordings, including Carreras-Domingo-Pavarotti: The Three Tenors In Concert (which holds the Guinness World Record for the best-selling classical music album),[26] The Three Tenors in Concert 1994, The Three Tenors: Paris 1998, The Three Tenors Christmas, and The Best of The Three Tenors. Zubin Mehta conducted the performances in 1990 and 1994. The Paris concert was conducted by James Levine.[27]

The Three Tenors repertoire ranged from opera to Broadway to Neapolitan songs and pop hits. The group's signature songs included "Nessun dorma" from Puccini's opera Turandot, usually sung by Pavarotti, and the ballad "O Sole Mio", which all three tenors typically sang together.[28]

The Three Tenors phenomenon was applauded by many for introducing opera to a wider audience, but some opera purists rebuked them, saying opera was not music for the masses.[29] Some[who?] critics believe that the presentation of opera in stadiums such as Wembley, with heavy amps, contributes little to the understanding and appreciation of opera as a Gesamtkunstwerk (complete art work) as Wagner conceived it. "I understand the complaints of the purists," Domingo told an interviewer in 1998. "But I do not want the purists to go to the Three Tenors."[citation needed]

Legal issue[edit]

The success of the Three Tenors also led to antitrust action by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission against Warner Bros. and Vivendi Universal. It found that they had conspired not to advertise or discount the albums of the Rome concert (released by PolyGram, later taken over by Vivendi) and of the Los Angeles concert (released by Warner Bros.) in order to protect sales of the jointly released album of the Paris concert.


The success of the Three Tenors formula led to various imitations, such as the Irish Tenors, Tenor Australis, The Canadian Tenors, the Ten Tenors, Three Tenors and a Soprano, the Three Sopranos, Three Mo' Tenors, Les Contre-Ténors (Andreas Scholl, Dominique Visse, Pascal Bertin), the 2012 "China's Three Tenors" tour (Wei Song, Dai Yuqiang, and Warren Mok), The 3 Chinese Tenors (Australia), Il Divo and Yiddish and Canadian Anglican trios of religious singers both called the Three Cantors. In 2000, Joe Mantegna, George Hamilton and Danny Aiello starred in the motion picture comedy OFF-KEY, loosely inspired by the Three Tenors. Stephin Merritt, Dudley Klute, and LD Beghtol have acted occasionally under the name The Three Terrors. The Brazilian samba singers Moreira da Silva, Bezerra and Dicró produced in 1995 the album "Bezerra, Moreira e Dicró - Os 3 Malandros in Concert", portraying a satirical imitation as the three "malandros", Portuguese slang for bohemian rascals. Another satirical Three Terrors, produced in June 2010, by Latma features singers who resemble Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Bashar Assad singing joyfully about using terrorism to conquer the world "from Tennessee to Teheran."[30]

In popular culture[edit]

Throughout the Seinfeld episode "The Doll", José Carreras is repeatedly referred to as "the other guy" after the names of Domingo and Pavarotti are easily recalled when naming the tenors. In The Simpsons episode "Homer of Seville", Homer becomes an opera star and gives advice to Plácido Domingo, while referring to him as his "third favorite" of the Three Tenors. The Animaniacs cartoon Three Tenors and You're Out featured the trio performing at Dodger Stadium. The Canadian sketch comedy series Royal Canadian Air Farce parodied The Three Tenors in a sketch. In the Frasier episode "The Perfect Guy" Frasier attempts to impress Dr. Clint Webber by referring to an old friendship he had with Carreras but it backfires when Clint reveals Carreras is his godfather.


List of concerts[edit]

List of The Three Tenors concerts
Nr. Place Venue Event Date
1 Rome,  Italy Baths of Caracalla 1990 FIFA World Cup 7 July 1990
2 Los Angeles,  United States Dodger Stadium 1994 FIFA World Cup 16 July 1994
3 Tokyo,  Japan Kasumigaoka Stadium World Tour 29 June 1996
4 London,  United Kingdom Wembley Stadium World Tour 6 July 1996
5 Vienna,  Austria Ernst Happel Stadion World Tour 13 July 1996
6 New Jersey,  United States Giants Stadium World Tour 20 July 1996
7 Goteborg,  Sweden Ullevi Stadium World Tour 26 July 1996
8 Munich,  Germany Olympic Stadium World Tour 3 August 1996
9 Düsseldorf,  Germany Rheinstadion World Tour 24 August 1996
10 Vancouver,  Canada BC Place World Tour 31 December 1996
11 Toronto,  Canada Skydome World Tour 4 January 1997
12 Melbourne,  Australia Melbourne Cricket Ground World Tour 1 March 1997
13 Miami,  United States Pro Player Stadium World Tour 8 March 1997
14 Modena,  Italy Stadio Alberto Braglia Benefit concert 17 June 1997
15 Barcelona,  Spain Camp Nou World Tour 13 July 1997
16 Madrid,  Spain Teatro Real Benefit concert 8 January 1998
17 Paris,  France Champ de Mars 1998 FIFA World Cup 10 July 1998
18 Tokyo,  Japan Tokyo Dome World Tour 9 January 1999
19 Pretoria,  South Africa Union Buildings World Tour 18 April 1999
20 Detroit,  United States Tiger Stadium World Tour 17 July 1999
21 Vienna,  Austria Konzerthaus Christmas concert 23 December 1999
22 San Jose,  United States San Jose Arena World Tour 29 December 1999
23 Las Vegas,  United States Mandalay Bay World Tour 22 April 2000
24 Washington, D.C.,  United States MCI Center World Tour 7 May 2000
25 Hamburg,  Germany Volksparkstadion World Tour 16 June 2000
26 Cleveland,  United States Browns Stadium World Tour 25 June 2000
27 Sao Paulo,  Brazil Estádio do Morumbi World Tour 22 July 2000
28 Chicago,  United States United Center Benefit concert 17 December 2000
29 Seoul,  Republic of Korea Jamsil Olympic Stadium World Tour 22 June 2001
30 Beijing,  People's Republic of China Forbidden City World Tour 23 June 2001
31 Yokohama,  Japan Yokohama Arena 2002 FIFA World Cup 27 June 2002
32 Bath,  United Kingdom Royal Crescent World Tour 7 August 2003
33 Columbus,  United States Schottenstein Center World Tour 28 September 2003


  1. ^ David B. Knight (1 January 2006). Landscapes in Music: Space, Place, And Time in the World's Great Music. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 193–. ISBN 978-0-7425-4116-0. Retrieved 30 July 2013. Luciano Pavorotti, Plácido Domingo, and José Carreras or, as they are popularly called, the "Three Tenors," attracted worldwide attention during the 1990 World Cup when six thousand people filled the Roman Baths of Caracalla ... 
  2. ^ Leon Żurawicki (2 September 2010). Neuromarketing: Exploring the Brain of the Consumer. Springer. pp. 209–. ISBN 978-3-540-77829-5. Retrieved 30 July 2013. Such was the case of the Three Tenors. When Luciano Pavarotti and Plácido Domingo thought of welcoming their leukemia surviving friend and operatic rival – Jose ́ Carreras – they came up with the idea of a huge ... 
  3. ^ Emmis Communications (December 2000). Orange Coast Magazine. Emmis Communications. pp. 46–. ISSN 0279-0483. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  4. ^ Hugh Dauncey; Geoff Hare (1999). France and the 1998 World Cup: The National Impact of a World Sporting Event. Frank Cass. pp. 194–. ISBN 978-0-7146-4887-3. Retrieved 30 July 2013. Accompanied by the Orchestre de Paris, Carreras, Domingo and Pavarotti were heard by an estimated 150,000 ... music, synthetic image and laser concert on the Champs-de- Mars in front of a rather bigger audience than the three tenors had ... 
  5. ^ Peter Wynter Bee (October 2007). People of the Day 2. People of the Day Limited. pp. 47–. ISBN 978-0-9548110-1-3. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  6. ^ Three Tenors in Traditional World Cup Performance. Los Angeles Times. 28 June 2002. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  7. ^ Noel Hynd (1 SeptembeBath, Somersetr 2009). The Prodigy: Author's Revised Edition. Damnation Books. pp. 244–. ISBN 978-1-61572-022-4. Retrieved 30 July 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. ^ Orient-express Magazine. Venice Simplon-Orient-Express Limited. 1996. p. 32. Retrieved 30 July 2013. The Three Tenors' tour begins on June 29 at the Kasumigaoka National Stadium in Tokyo, then on July 6, it is Wembley Stadium in London, scene of Pavarotti's solo triumph a decade ago. Vienna Prater Stadium follows on July 1 3, the New ... 
  9. ^ TIM SMITH (February 1997). 3 Tenors Ticket Sales Not Bringing Down The House. SunSentinel. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  10. ^ Sue Leeman (October 1995). Thee Tenors return, Five-city tour includes stop in U.S. The Free Lance-Star. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  11. ^ RALPH BLUMENTHAL (March 1996). The Three Tenors Juggernaut. The New York Times. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  12. ^ Melinda bargreen (December 1996). Tenors of the Times -- New Year's Eve Show in Vancouver Is More An Event Than A Concert. The Seattle Times. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  13. ^ Three Tenors, video artist and Vienna in the news. Desert News. December 1996. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  14. ^ "Astrodome owners are suing Three tenors promoters". Boca Raton News. 23 December 1997. p. 16. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  15. ^ THREE TENORS TO PERFORM BENEFIT CONCERT FOR KING JUAN CARLOS' 60TH BIRTHDAY. PRNewswire. December 1997. Retrieved 17 September 2013. 
  16. ^ Ford Motor Company Brings Three Tenors to Detroit in July. PRNewswire. January 1999. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  17. ^ Knight Ridder (July 1999). How sweet the sound of three tenors. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  18. ^ Three Tenors To Perform South American Concert Debut. Brazilian show replaces Albany, N.Y., date that was canceled because of poor ticket sales. MTV News. June 2000. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  19. ^ Natasha Emmons (17 April 2000). Three Tenors on the Road Again; Trio To Make. Live Webcast Debut.(Brief Article). Amusement Business. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  20. ^ Mattalia Glendy (21 December 2000). Three Tenors Concert on Cold Night Helps Aids Foundation. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  21. ^ The Three Tenors in Seoul. Meyer Sound. June 2001. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  22. ^ Three Tenors take Bath. August 2003. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  23. ^ "THREE TENORS, Pavarotti, Carreras and Domingo postpone show". Ocala Star-Banner. 5 December 2002. p. 17. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  24. ^ Tim Page (December 2005). Domingo Sees Little Chance For a Three Tenors Reunion. The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 January 2014. 
  25. ^ Al Lieberman; Patricia Esgate (2002). The Entertainment Marketing Revolution: Bringing the Moguls, the Media, and the Magic to the World. FT Press. pp. 213–. ISBN 978-0-13-029350-3. Retrieved 30 July 2013. On occasion, each of the three would accompany a popular singing star on a CD, such as the collaboration of John Denver and Plácido Domingo. But these ... in front of a world-class orchestra led by a star conductor like James Levine or Zubin Mehta that "The Three Tenors" were born. ... Performances in Athens, Paris, and New York resulted in platinum CD sales, gold VHS sales, licensing fees for HBO ... 
  26. ^ Gareth Malone (28 April 2011). Music for the People: The Pleasures and Pitfalls of Classical Music. HarperCollins Publishers. pp. 34–. ISBN 978-0-00-739618-4. Retrieved 30 July 2013. The association with football must have helped it, but achieving a Guinness world record for best-selling classical music with the Three Tenors in Concert CD shows that a great tune, well sung, has mass appeal even if it is classical. 
  27. ^ Graham Betts (1 October 2005). Complete UK Hit Albums 1956-2005. HarperCollins UK. p. 121. ISBN 978-0-00-720532-5. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  28. ^ Dan Fox (1 July 2002). Mandolin Gold: 100+ of the Most Popular Selections Arranged for Mandolin. Alfred Music Publishing. pp. 40–. ISBN 978-1-4574-1716-0. Retrieved 30 July 2013. No, the name of this piece is not "O Solo Mio."The correct title means "Oh, my sun." The Three Tenors always got ecstatic cheers when they sang this famous Italian song, and as "It's Now Or Never," the song was a hit for Elvis ... 
  29. ^ Brian Castles-Onion (1 May 2008). Losing the Plot in Opera: Myths and Secrets of the World's Great Operas. Exisle Publishing. pp. 239–. ISBN 978-1-77559-028-6. Retrieved 30 July 2013. Is it something of a paradox that while price structures within opera houses increase opera's élitism and make it less accessible to the masses, phenomena like the Three Tenors and Opera in the Park actually take it to a wider audience? 
  30. ^ CBN News: The Three Terrors. 21 June 2010.

External links[edit]