On the evening of 7th July 1990, set against the imposing backdrop of Rome’s Baths of Caracalla, superstar tenors José Carreras, Plácido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti were joined by more than two hundred orchestral musicians and conductor Zubin Mehta for a spectacular event that made history and marked a permanent shift in the way classical music was consumed by the masses.
To mark 30 years since this unforgettable event, Decca Classics releases a special edition recording of the live concert, held on the eve of the Italia ’90 FIFA World Cup final. With Zubin Mehta leading the orchestras of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, the three soloists shared the stage – and the spotlight – to perform works including Puccini’s Nessun dorma, pantomiming a friendly rivalry which culminates in one of the most euphoric vocal resolutions in western art music.
Zubin says, “I remember with greatest pleasure this concert with the greatest singing artists of our time. The concert in Rome was a unique experience, one I will never forget!”
Over the last 30 years, Nessun dorma has become synonymous with moments of unity and celebration in sport, film and television. Originally released by Luciano Pavarotti in 1972, the song was performed twice in the course of the Rome concert – once as a solo, and again as an encore, where Pavarotti was joined by Carreras and Domingo.
Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli performed Nessun dorma before Leicester City’s triumphant Premier League win in 2016, further reinforcing the song’s emotional ties to football. At the height of Italy’s lockdown in response to the COVID−19 pandemic, a video of Italian tenor Maurizio Marchini singing a cappella from his balcony in Florence was widely shared on social media, enjoyed all over the world.
The original live album of the concert released on Decca, Carreras Domingo Pavarotti in Concert, won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Performance in 1991 and remains the best-selling classical album of all time. Since their debut, The Three Tenors achieved critical and cultural acclaim, enjoying world tours and special performances throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.
The anniversary is also marked by the release of a television documentary, released by C-Major Entertainment.
Beyond the special edition, the original concert footage will be made available on all major video streaming services. In addition, a Blu-ray edition of the concert and the new documentary will be released by Decca later this year.
As opera houses remain silent and football stadiums stand empty of supporters, fans can relive the moment history was made in Rome 1990, enjoying each crescendo in stunning high definition sound and remembering the night when the ‘Beautiful Game’ and classical music crossed a cultural divide – changing the music industry forever.