Television producers seeking to combine the twin phenomena of the original Three Tenors
(Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, José Carreras) and Irish music (an international sensation fueled by Riverdance
) came up with the Irish Tenors. The Essential Collection
includes both their televised concerts from Dublin and Belfast, the first of which establishes the format: John McDermott, Anthony Kearns, and Ronan Tynan appearing on a small, plain stage and singing mostly traditional songs ("She Moved Through the Fair," "Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go?") in both solos and trios with a full orchestra in front of an appreciative audience. These classically trained performers have strong voices, enthusiasm, and more than a bit of whimsy. The second concert provides more of the same, but is most notable for the debut of new tenor Finbar Wright after McDermott had taken leave from the group following the death of his mother. McDermott does make a brief but dramatic appearance, however, to sing "The Last Rose of Summer," as a tribute to his parents, then rejoins Kearns and Tynan for "Red Is the Rose." And of course both shows include "Danny Boy"--as inevitable a closer as "Nessun dorma" was for that other trio of tenors.
In generous bonus DVD segments (13 to 19 minutes each), Tynan, Kearns, and Wright (but not McDermott) each discuss their musical upbringing and a bit of background on some of the songs they sing. Tynan talks about the emotion of the plight of the disabled child in "Scorn Not His Simplicity" without bringing up his own disability (which is mentioned in the text biographies), and Wright, the newest tenor, admits the advantages and disadvantages of performing with the group and also cites influences as wide-ranging as Mario Lanza and Queen. This DVD is excellent value for the Irish tenor fan. --David Horiuchi
The Complete Irish Tenors
on DVD features both of the spectacular PBS broadcast concerts (Dublin and Belfast) in their entirety, including performances not available on any video release. With in-depth bios on each artist, specially recorded studio interviews, rare backstage footage, and much, much more, this DVD represents the complete Irish tenors experience.