“The 3 Tenors in Concert 1994” – Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti – tenors/ Los Angeles Music Center Opera Chorus/ Los Angeles Phil./ Zubin Mehta – Warner Classics  0825646337378 (CD + DVD), 73 minutes (CD), 172 minutes (DVD) Bonus: The Making of the 3 Tenors – The Vision *****:

Yes, this is that concert with those guys, from way back then available again now. There is not much to say about it, actually. It’s doubtful, as Zubin Mehta predicted then, that we will ever see three such distinctive personalities in their prime with such amazing talent all active at the same time.

The concert was scheduled the night before the finale of the World Cup, which was being played in LA that year. It was the first time these three had performed together in the U.S., though they did so in Rome four years earlier at another World Cup staging, and would in successive World Cups in the years to come. This concert here is probably the most famous, transforming Dodger Stadium into a Who’s Who glitterati of stars and political notables, and making the three far more famous than they already were. To their credit, this concert has been ascribed with attracting many people to the world of opera and classical music.

Musically it is of varying quality, always thrilling, always well-done, but also a platform for three crowing cocks delighting at their adoring audience and vying to outdo one another, though all in good fun since they really were very good friends, and fanatical soccer fans. Zubin Mehta knew them all very well, and is in his most gregarious and show-offy mode which adds to the fun. The highlights, aside from the encores where all three sing together, are the last three arias that each takes: Carreras in E Lucevan Le Stella, Domingo in Vesti La Giubba, and Pavarotti in Nessun Dorma! Each tenor has almost become identified with these respective arias. The CD is slightly different than the DVD concert, and the sound in the former is excellent.

As far as the video, it is in 4:3 format that offers a faked surround sound in 5.1 Dolby if so desired, with stereo 2.0 also available. The color is definitely 1994 TV quality, a little out of focus in places, but easily serviceable. It’s hard not to like this, and makes you wax nostalgic for the days when giants walked the earth. There was something very special about them that we have not found again.

—Steven Ritter