Operatic Talent Hunt

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Getting the world's three greatest tenors—Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and José Carreras—to risk their reputations and submerge their famous egos by appearing on the same stage seemed preposterous. It happened only because Domingo and Pavarotti wanted to help Carreras, financially drained after a battle with leukemia. Yet when the musical titans gathered before 6,000 people at Rome's Baths of Caracalla one July night in 1990, operatic history was made.

Since then the Three Tenors, as they are everywhere known, have become classical music's hottest act. The concert album of the Rome event sold more than 2 million...