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And then there were two
on 18 September 2007
This is the recording of the first performance in the so-called `Three Tenors' series of concerts. Staged on the eve of the 1990 FIFA World Cup final in Italy on 7th July 1990, and broadcast live around the world, the event probably widened the listening audience of opera music more than any event in history and subsequently elevated the status of the three tenor singers Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti to superstar level.
This latter point led to some disapproval of the sceptics who suggested that rather than bring music to the millions, it made millions for the musicians. In fact, probably both these statements are true and while it may be easy to criticise the singers for their financial gain, the contribution they have made to the opera genre is probably more valuable than their combined wage cheques for these events (rumoured to be $1 million each incidentally).
Opera purists also voiced disapproval at the large-scale amplified events staged in big arenas by suggesting that they do nothing for the understading and appreciation of opera music, but the response (when interviewed in 1998) by Domingo demonstrates these concerts were aimed at a different audience `I understand the complaints of purists, but I don't want the purists to go to the Three Tenors'.
Of the Three Tenors, Pavarotti has perhaps maintained the most popular appeal and has been embraced by the pop/crossover fan base, due in no small part for his popular version of `Nessun dorma' which became the theme tune for the BBC TV coverage of the 1990 World Cup and has since been performed many times as a concert finale by the singer.
Since its release in 1990 this album has been hugely successful having sold 10 million copies worldwide, and sales will no doubt be revitalised since the death of Luciano Pavarotti. This may not be the best of recordings, for the orchestra sounds a little thin probably due to the open air venue acoustics, but this is of little consequence for the singing is brilliant and the album probably represents the pinnacle of Pavarotti's career.
There will be many obituary albums to celebrate (and make some money from) Pavarotti's fame but this one will be difficult to upstage.