Carreras, Domingo and Pavarotti in Concert
''Oh what a night!'' as somebody used to sing. Well, I think it probably was a night: to enjoy and remember, that is. Rome's Caracalla makes a picturesque setting, especially ''on a brilliant starlit night with a full moon rising'', which is how the sleeve-note describes the weather conditions and how it appears on the video. The 6000-strong audience and the 200 musicians add numerical impressiveness to the occasion. And then, of course, at the centre of it all, are Zubin Mehta and The Three Tenors: quite an act.
The programme is unashamedly 'popular'; and that a number of operatic arias can still come under that heading is cause for rejoicing rather than otherwise. Songs about places (Sorrento, Granada, Vienna) continue to be popular, as do songs about hearts (mostly in love, sometimes broken, occasionally ungrateful). We also have songs of many nations (Black Eyes from Russia, La vie en rose from France; only The Road to the Isles is missing). Then there are those culture-bridging tunes, Lloyd Webber's ''Memory'' from Cats and others from West Side Story, for which all three tenors are known to have a soft spot. It is no use expecting that the voices might join in a little a capella three-part singing (catches and part-songs by Purcell and Thomas Ravenscroft) or that increasing interest in early music would prompt the inclusion of Monteverdi's Scherzi musicali with continuo.
No doubt much of the remainder of the starlit night was spent by the 6000 in comparisons. I did not hear of hooliganism among the various support-teams, but there would be something wrong if the streets and cafes were void of all controversy after such an event. Between Domingo and Pavarotti I thought the honours fairly evenly divided, with an extra mark to Domingo for including the aria from