Tenors Take A Bow

Classical Academy | Performers 


With so many great tenors having graced the stage past and present, it's time to let them take a bow. The word 'tenor' comes from the Italian verb tenere, meaning 'to hold'; in early Renaissance music, the tenor part played a 'holding' role in the music, fundamental to the piece and letting the other parts dance around it. As the highest male voice part, tenors often take the lead role in all-male choirs such as Glee clubs, or in Barbership quartets.


On the operatic stage, tenors produce many of the 'glory moments' - and with such immortal talents as Luciano Pavarotti and Enrico Caruso in the roles, who can be surprised. Discover the great art of the tenor singer with our special playlist of classic arias performed by tenors. Performers include not just Pavarotti and Caruso, but also Spanish tenor and conductor Placido Domingo, whose 136 operatic roles rank as the highest of all time. Of course, Jose Carreras joins his other partners Domingo and Pavarotti of the acclaimed Three Tenors, a Catelan who made his debut at just 11 years old. Listen out for Beniamo Gigli, the most famous singer of his generation (he died in 1957) deried by critics as 'over-emotional', and for Jussi Bjorling, "the Swedish Caruso".


Find out more about the great Pavarotti in our introduction to his early career and take a look at the opera most closely associated with him, Turandot.