7 Jul: Three Tenors, Zero Royalties

When Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti teamed up for their first joint performance on 7th July, 1990 in Rome, it was intended as a one-off collaboration to celebrate the FIFA World Cup. 

But the concert triggered instant worldwide fame for the trio, who became known as The Three Tenors, and their live recording became the biggest-selling classical album of all time.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly consider how, by mixing showtunes with opera, the Tenors created the ‘classical crossover’ genre that spawned Russell Watson, Il Divo and Katherine Jenkins; explain how Carreras’ recovery from leukemia was the reason for the concert coming together; and reveal how their iconic Nessun Dorma encore was nearly not included at all…

Further Reading:

• ‘TENORS, ANYONE? THE BIG THREE ARE MAKING A MINT, BUT THAT DOESN’T NECCESSARILY CORRUPT THEIR ART’ (The Washington Post, 1995): https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/style/1995/10/29/tenors-anyone-the-big-three-are-making-a-mint-but-that-doesnt-neccessarily-corrupt-their-art/a0ab8ac1-5ea8-4487-85f7-f554681c0d70/

• ‘Profile: The Three Tenors’ (The National, 2015): https://www.thenational.scot/news/14852450.profile-the-three-tenors/

• ‘The Three Tenors sing “O Sole Mio” at Terme di Caracalla’ (1990):