Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Origin of the Three Tenors

The video above comes from the Three Tenors’ performance at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, one day before the 1994 World Cup final. This performance marked the second time famed tenors Jose Carreras, Luciano Pavarotti, and Placido Domingo collaborated in concert, and began a sensation in the music world that would change the course of music marketing.

The Three Tenors first agreed to perform together in 1990, to celebrate the World Cup in Rome. All three avid soccer fans, they came together in a performance that was viewed on television by fans across the globe. The Three Tenors provide the perfect example of what we call crossover music. This term typically refers to classical artists (in this case, three operatic tenors) who attempt pop genres and venues. It can also refer to rock or pop artists collaborating with an orchestra.

While the Three Tenors were known to “battle” back and forth on stage singing their favorite arias, they also were known to sing more popular tunes and Broadway hits. They also toured the world, most often performing in stadiums rather than concert halls. Their shows were unlike traditional classical concerts. The spectacle played a large role for audiences with multi-media, an impressive stage, and special lighting adding to the experience.

Selling more than 20 million recordings and topping the charts during the 1990s, Carreras, Pavarotti, and Domingo left a lasting mark on musicians who followed them. Their success led to what we can call the “Popera” movement represented by singers such as Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli. We will look more at their role in crossover music next time. 

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