Very few soccer players make it to four World Cups. The Three Tenors did.
Continuing the tradition they started in Rome on the eve of the 1990 tournament final, Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras gathered Thursday night for what was billed as "The Three Tenors Last Concert in Japan 2002."
Whether this was the last Three Tenors concert ever, or just the final one in Japan, remains unclear; there are no current plans for further concerts. But to answer the biggest question first, yes, the fat man sang.
Pavarotti said earlier this week that he intends to retire on Oct. 12, 2005, his 70th birthday. Last month, he canceled his last two scheduled appearances at the Metropolitan Opera, leading the New York Post to run a front-page banner headline: "Fat Man Won't Sing."
His only performance since then had been the May 28 "Pavarotti & Friends" annual charity concert in Modena, Italy, where he was reported to have sounded hoarse during a pop duet with Andrea Bocelli.
Singing Thursday before a large backdrop of Mount Fuji, Pavarotti was in as decent voice as he has been lately. He performed three arias: "Recondita armonia" from Puccini's "Tosca," Leoncavallo's "Mattinata" and "Nessun dorma" from Puccini's "Turandot," which became his signature tune when it was used as the theme for the 1990 World Cup.
The program was much the same as the previous 28 Three Tenors concerts, with Domingo singing Sorozabal's "No puede ser," and "E lucevan le stelle" from "Tosca," and Carreras performing "Lamento di Federico" from Cilea's "L'Arlesiana."
They also joined together to perform the Beatles' "Yesterday."