Best of the Three Tenors

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This release ought to win some kind of deceptive packaging award. Contained on the three discs within are not performances by the Three Tenors as a group, but individual performances of well-known operatic arias by each of the three, Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo, and José Carreras, with one disc (about a stingy half-hour's worth) devoted to each singer. All the tracks are taken from live recordings, and the sound quality is poor even by the necessarily limited standards of recordings made during opera performances. There is no identification of where any of the music came from; possibly these were unofficial recordings made during the early careers of these singers. The good news is that they were in their respective vocal primes; there is some gorgeous singing here, and if what you are after is a gloriously warm and flexible "Che gelida manina" from Domingo (CD 2, track 5), you will find one here and more like it. Perhaps the operatic hardcore will enjoy trying to guess when and where these performances were recorded. But the Three Tenors buyer should steer toward one of their Decca-label releases, perhaps The Best of the Three Tenors.

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