Three Tenors: The first concert took place as opera stars Luciano Pavarotti
Three Tenors: The first concert took place as opera stars Luciano Pavarotti

In 1990, the first “Three Tenors” concert took place as opera stars Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras performed amid the brick ruins of Rome’s Baths of Caracalla on the eve of the World Cup championship.


The idea for the Three Tenors came from Mario Dradi, an Italian manager and producer. Dradi’s idea was to create a group of tenors for a concert and donate a portion of the proceeds to Jose Carreras’s foundation after his successful treatment of leukemia. Jose Carreras, along with his two friends, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti, agreed to perform as the Three Tenors.

Dradi’s idea came to fruition on July 7, 1990, the day before the FIFA World Cup in Rome. The concert was watched by over 800 million viewers, and was so well received that when a recording of the concert was released, it became the biggest selling classical album in history. The album, Carreras – Domingo – Pavarotti: the Three Tenors in Concert, set a Guinness World Record. Because of the trio’s instant success, they performed at the following three FIFA World Cups: Los Angeles in 1994, Paris in 1998, and Yokohama in 2002. The tremendous reception of the Three Tenors was due largely in part to their incredible voices, down-to-earth, likable personalities, and song selections. The trio would regularly perform classic and well-known operatic arias, as well as popular Broadway show tunes that even the most novice classical music listener could love and appreciate. Given the trio’s enormous popularity, imitations of the Three Tenors quickly arose all over the world, including the Three Canadian Tenors, the Chinese Tenors, as well as the Three Mo’ Tenors.


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