"This is one of those events, whether musical or otherwise, that comes along once a generation. The result is that everyone remembers where they were when....
In my case, I was pottering around at home, blissfully unaware of anything, when my Dad phoned me and said "Turn on your TV - three guys are singing beautifully." I did, and the rest is history.
I'm a professional musician and can't pull out bits or say where people were better than others. Pavarotti was aureate and majestic, his great bulk filling the space, singing with his entire face....Jose Carreras wonderfully intense and sensitive, like the younger brother, keen to impress and seeking approval (later bravely to fight his own health battles)....and Domingo was mischievous and competitive.
Zubin Mehta held the whole event together brilliantly, part authoritative, part conspiratorial. In the magical setting of Caracalla, the whole was greater than the sum of its parts.
It was the best jam session ever, and if you haven't seen it, you've been deprived. If you have, you'll want it again."
Reviewing the Australian format of the DVD
CBP the bookworm | NSW Australia | 10/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All the good things that have been said about the (long previously available) US format of this DVD are true for this one too. This was the concert that made opera popular, and Pavarotti a household name (Domingo and Carreras each got to be "one of the other three tenors" - until much later). And the reason it did that was primarily due to a) their song choice - including popular numbers such as Tonight, from West Side Story, for instance, broke down the perceived divide between opera singers and the average music listener; and b) the mischievous playfulness of Domingo and Carreras' reply to Pavarotti's fioratura in the encore - along with Pavarotti's astonishment and hearty spontaneous laughter in response. These might be opera singers, but they were having fun, and the audience, live and televised, had fun with them.
I've been waiting for more than a decade for this DVD to come out, continually frustrated by trying to order the other format only to be told "it won't work in Australian DVD players. My only gripe is that they changed the cover - why should we Aussies not be able to have the orignal cover too?
Watching it with the benefit of nearly 20 years hindsight, perhaps what it shows most clearly is how developed Pavarotti's voice was at that time compared with Domingo and Carreras, both of whom have since become much more equal competition for Luciano. That said, nothing hides the sheer magic of Pavarotti as a singer. Long may the DVDs live as a testimony to him. Vale Luciano!"
Just to clarify...
Mad Max | Seattle, WA USA | 03/09/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not going to repeat what others have said about this concert - we already know they're brilliant.
I just wanted to clarify what's in this DVD as compared to other Three Tenors DVD's:
This is a 2-disc box set, which contains the original concert (1.5 hours) plus a 1-hour documentary on the tenors. It also contains extras, a karaoke "extra", and other bonus material.
I hope this helps - if you want to own this classic on DVD, I definitely think the box set is worth the extra dollar.
O sole trio
Gregor von Kallahann | 04/01/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There will always be naysayers when it comes to this kind of project--the commercialization of classical or operatic music has its downside, I'm sure. But the Three Tenors concerts really did help win the hearts of many who were previously unfamiliar with the genre. It's hard to argue that that's not a good thing.
However, I understand why purists are--at the very least--ambivalent about projects like this. It's at least as much show-biz as art. But then again, one of the first things they teach you about Opera in music appreciation class is that it was originally a popular art form, and if three of the greatest tenors of the latter 20th century could help re-popularize the genre once more, well, it's all to the good, right?
OK, there is the worry of over-commercialization.. The Three Tenors did become something of a brand name while they lasted--and mygosh all those spin-offs: 3 Irish Tenors, 2 Mo' Tenors, 3 Terrors (yes, they existed!), to say nothing of the soprano ensembles. All talented, I'm sure, but it gets to be a bit much. You're almost tempted to say they created a monster.
But there were just so many good moments, especially when it was all fresh and new as it was for the first concert. Of course, Pavarotti's "Nessun Dorma" has justifiably become a popular classic, but Domingo's "No Puede Ser" and Carreras' "Granada" are almost as memorable. And when the three join forces on a reprise of "Nessun Dorma," well, you forget any concerns you may have about crass commercialism and just enjoy these three beautiful voices blending beautifully.
Carreras' begins the program with "Lamento di Federico," and he's just shaky enough that you wonder if his return to performing after having beaten leukemia wasn't perhaps a bit premature. But he gets progressively stronger and more assured as the evening wears on. You come to share in his sense of triumph.
I remember at the time that this concert was first broadcast on PBS, a co-worker of mine--an otherwise tough-talking dame in her 60s--declared herself to be a "Domingo gal." And you can see why. His easy going masculinity and dashing looks clearly make him the hearthrob of the program. His voice has always struck me as being deeper and richer than most tenors, and I'm not surprised that he is taking on baritone roles in his later career. Of the "Three Tenors," he's really the only one who could likely pull off such a move.
His much vaunted ambition and adventureness is evident even in this limited a program. He tackles pieces in German, French and English with a bit more ease than Carreras (while Pavarotti only seldom ventures from standard Italian repertoire).
In some ways though, the two Spaniards seem almost deferential to Pavarotti, the sole Italian and therefore (at least by some definitions) more of the heir to the operatic tradition. He was, in some ways, the most imperious, while being somewhat indifferent, it seemed, to his personal appearance. It may seem petty to wonder why he didn't bother to trim his beard, but it did appear almost defiantly unkempt. Nothing ragged about his vocals here, however. It's hard to imagine a more gorgeous instrument.
Newcomers to the world of opera could watch this broadcast in 1991 and experience firsthand how distinctive these singers were, what each could bring to a given piece--be it an operatic aria or a Neapolitan (or Spanish) song. They could also experience the emotion and the HUMOR that was characteristic of great singers' concerts. All in all, a good intro to the genre. And a brilliant commercial move--not that there's anything wrong with that. "
Eugene Tenenbaum | Bronx, NY USA | 03/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Tracks: 1. Opening Credits 2. Il lamento di Federico (E la solita storia) (José Carreras) 3. Ô paradis (Plácido Domingo) 4. Recondita armonia (Luciano Pavarotti) 5. Dein ist mein ganzes Herz (Plácido Domingo) 6. Rondine al nido (Luciano Pavarotti) 7. Core 'ngrato (José Carreras) 8. Verdi - I vestri siciliani (Sinfonia) 9. Torna a Surriento (Luciano Pavarotti) 10. Granada (José Carreras) 11. No puede ser (Plácido Domingo) 12. L'improvviso - Andrea Chénier (José Carreras) 13. E lucevan le stelle (Plácido Domingo) 14. Nessun dorma! (Luciano Pavarotti) 15. Finale Medley (Luciano Pavarotti, José Carreras, Plácido Domingo) 16. Encore: 'O sole mio (Luciano Pavarotti, José Carreras, Plácido Domingo)"