Friday, 29 October 2010

CD Review (The Straits Times, October 2010)

The Rome Concert 1990
Decca 2738173 (CD & DVD)

One of best-selling opera discs of all time was the first ever Three Tenors Concert, held on a July evening at the Caracalla Baths in Rome, on the eve of the 1990 World Cup finals. While the football was rubbish, the music soared. The abiding memory was that of José Carreras, Placido Domingo and the late Luciano Pavarotti belting out Puccini’s Nessun Dorma from Turandot, preceded by playful vocal jousting as to who could sing the longest trill in the Neapolitan favourite O Sole Mio.

This iconic concert helped demystify opera, making it accessible to millions who would otherwise not step into an opera house or concert hall. The downside was a proliferation of copycats (The Three Chinese Tenors, The Three Countertenors) and the rise of pseudo-opera singers.

Watch the DVD of the concert as well as The Impossible Dream, a documentary of the making of the concert, to get the experience of what the fuss was all about. The CD, which includes all the arias and medleys, may be popped into the car stereo. The tenors and their agents, who once remarked that they were not paid handsomely enough for the concert, can now live on its royalties.

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