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The Best of the Three Tenors.

Decca 289 466 999-2.

What do you mean, who are they? This album collects twenty-two of the fellows' best songs from all three major performances: Rome, 1990; Los Angeles, 1994; and Paris, 1998. The accompanying orchestras and conductors are Zubin Mehta with the Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Orchestra del Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and James Levine with the Orchestre de Paris.

The chosen songs are only those that the three men sang together, and they include among others, "O sole mio," "Funiculi, funicula," "Libiamo ne" lieti calici (Brindsi)," "Brazil," "Torna a Surriento," "Nessun dorma," and "La donna e mobile." Of course, there are also the silly bits of American pop material sung in English, most of which are fun but not particularly thrilling; things like "Because," "You'll Never Walk Alone," "Maria," and their eminently forgettable rendition of "Singin" in the Rain." Remember, this is an album that documents a trio of events, not to be confused with a album of classic music.

Without seeing the tenors, it's easy for a moment to forget which of them is singing at any given time, but the ear soon adjusts to Pavarotti's massively bright voice, Domingo's mellower, more fluid tones, and Carreras's less opulent timbres. The audio is as big as the vocalists, no matter which of the venues they sing in, sometimes cavernous, never especially transparent. They are magnificent singers, and the phenomena of hearing them together is entertaining. They are a dream team, to be sure. Too bad they weren't together in something more consequential and better recorded.
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Publication:Sensible Sound
Date:Dec 1, 2002
Words:264
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