Two tenors croak it in Tokyo

Two tenors croak it in Tokyo


norman lebrecht

January 27, 2023

This is rehearsal video for the Domingo-Carreras concert in memory of Pavarotti.

If there’s an earthquake in Italy this weekend, it will be Luciano turning in his grave.


  • 4234 says:

    I see the mandatory retirement ages in the EU haven’t been enforced properly..

  • Paul Dawson says:

    I’m reminded of that classic Listerine slogan “Even your closest friends won’t tell you.”

  • The View from America says:

    Well, that was embarrassing; thank you for including us.

  • Jackson says:

    This is unkind to Carreras even though true.

  • nun says:

    You know what it’s like watching? The tennis senior tour. They will still beat every amateur player their age, but it’s still a bunch of seniors creakily shuffling around the court, occasionally hitting a ball that doesn’t go out.

    Luciano would’ve been right up there with them if he were alive.

    • Nick2 says:

      Would he? I doubt it. I heard him with his father in the mid-1990s and his father was still in pretty good voice.

  • PShi says:

    Oh they were performing in Tokyo Garden Theater, an amplified hall of 8000 seats, most of the performances there are anime virtual idols or old rock stars who cannot fill the Budokan or Yokohama Arena…They were in Tokyo and they did not rent any proper concert hall.

  • Zelda Macnamara says:

    So sad to see this, when I think of Carreras in his prime.
    As for Plamingo, I have never been a fan.

  • Nicola says:

    “Croak it” – did they die?

  • Ari Bocian says:

    I actually think Domingo sounds much better than Carreras does in this video. At least in Domingo’s case, there’s still flashes of him in his prime, and his tone is relatively steady; it’s honestly not bad for someone who just turned 82. By contrast, Carreras (who is almost six years younger) has lost his pitch control completely, and his voice sounds like it’s on the verge of disappearing altogether (probably from years’ worth of forcing it over orchestras in repertoire that was wrong for him to sing, and I’m sure leukemia also played a significant role in depriving it of its former strength and vitality, which is a shame). Still, let’s respect the fact that they both invested their time and energy towards paying tribute to a beloved colleague; that should be the main focus, regardless of the outcome.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    “If there’s an earthquake in Italy this weekend, it will be Luciano turning in his grave.”
    Nonsense. Big Lucy would be singing right along with the other two and making sure to get his share of the spoils.

  • Bigfoot says:

    They should invite Andrea Bocelli to join them for a Three Tenor$ Reinvented tour. If Grateful Dead members can tour nearly three decades after Jerry Garcia’s death, why not?

  • trumpetherald says:

    Morecambe and Wise are back….

  • MMcGrath says:

    Ai ai ya yai. How sad. But for the unknowing and undiscerning in Tokyo, apparently, it will be a pleasant evening.

    In most other places, these off-key has-beens would be booed off the stage.

    • Madeleine Richardson says:

      Not in any of the venues I have been to – quite the reverse actually. Those venues include the opera houses of Berlin, Vienna and Paris, the Roman theatre of Orange (fully booked with around 8000 spectators), the opera house of Versailles (packed with Americans) and the Opera House of Liège (packed with Germans – Liège is close to the German border).
      You need to get out more.

  • Lucy P says:

    Isn’t there a a younger, more attractive, septuagenerian, who could step up for their time in the light?

  • justsaying says:

    let’s admit that Domingo still makes some good sounds, even in this clip. But so can most retired singers! (Not Carreras, unfortunately.) The difference with Domingo is not that he has lasted longer than others, but that audiences of past generations wouldn’t have accepted what he’s done these past 15 years as a substitute for a baritone in condition to sing those roles.

    (They also had a longer list of those baritones to prefer….)

  • R. Deed says:

    Serious Question: did Placido Domingo learn his lesson and quit the nasty habit of harassing women or it is not reported anymore as he has been visiting countries that cover up his dirty deeds due to his infinite artistry and wonderful signing career?

    • Paul Carlile says:

      All the best artits hava wonderful “signing” career. Lettuce hope that both artits will have an equally wonderful carer (to fini shit off).

      • Dixie says:

        With all your misspellings I cannot figure out what you are trying to say. Please enlighten not just me, but all the readers!

  • IP says:

    If they could only take music lessons from Billie Holiday or some other of the great ladies who could work with 2-3 tones and survive gracefully.

  • Dorset Dick says:

    Is this from the film quarte? Which is Billy connolly?

  • Dixie says:

    Well beyond “Time to say good-bye!!!”

  • Brahms rules says:

    My only explanation for this is that inflation is so bad that this fellas needed this gig to get to the end of the month.

  • James says:

    it is supposed to be a positive matter for the real concert, when rehearsals are as bad as this one seems to have been!!

  • John R. says:

    I was never a fan of either one but considering their age, they sound better than I would have expected, to be honest.

  • Vassilis Kent says:

    I thought Carreras had retired. Placido needs to hang it up. Jose voice is too wobbly and he has hardly any voice left. Sad.

  • Anna Marks says:

    I know this is a far cry, but a dozen years ago or so I saw a doc on Poland’s great violinist Wanda Wilkomirska. The opening scene shows her going to Sotheby’s (or Christie’s? cannot remember now) in New York to submit her concert violin for an auction, following her decision to withdraw from concert career and focus solely on teaching. This is a poignant moment, but truly great/modest/self-critical people always know when to leave. Wanda was such a person.