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The Private Lives of the Three Tenors

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Private Lives of the Three Tenors: Behind the Scenes with Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, and José Carreras
The Private Lives of the Three Tenors.jpg
AuthorMarcia Lewis
CountryUnited States of America
SubjectBiography, Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, José Carreras, The Three Tenors
PublisherBirch Lane/Carol Publishing
Published in English

The Private Lives of the Three Tenors is a gossip biography of tenors Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, and José Carreras by Marcia Lewis, the mother of Monica Lewinsky.[1][2][3][4][5] The book received high-level publicity during the 1998 Lewinsky scandal, as journalists compared Lewis' "hints" of an affair with popular opera singer, Plácido Domingo, to Lewinsky’s then-unproven allegations against U.S. President Bill Clinton.[6][7][8][9] Domingo insisted that he only knew Lewis socially.[8][6]

Domingo controversy

Media controversy over Plácido Domingo concentrated on an early publicity proposal that Lewis wrote for her book: "How did the author, a glamorous Beverly Hills reporter, formerly with The Hollywood Reporter, get all the inside dope? She denies rumors she and Domingo were more than friends in the '80s but read the book and see what you think."[10][9] Her publisher declined to use the proposal. However, soon before the book's release, the New York Post printed a somewhat graphic description of the Domingo rumor, which the paper indicated Lewis "sort of semi-denies."[11] Newsweek staff reporters accused her of apparently starting the rumor herself.[11]

The Washington Post quoted Lewis' publisher as saying that an additional three page "fantasy scene" of what a sexual encounter with the tenor might be like was removed from the final version of the book.[6] The book's editor later recalled: "It was so jarring in relation to the rest of the book. It went from a third-person clip job to a weird romance novel kind of steamy scene. I took it out."[12] In its place is a much pared-down, but nonetheless detailed description of what sort of lovers Spanish "hidalgos" like Domingo supposedly are.[6][13] Newsweek noted, "It is impossible to know whether the [excised] scene was based on real life."[11] El País, an important Spanish-language newspaper from Domingo's hometown of Madrid, less equivocally claimed in a headline: "Monica's mother invented a romance with Plácido Domingo."[14]

Contents and reception

In addition to her well-publicized focus on Domingo, whom she compared to the Spanish fictional character Don Juan,[15] Lewis also detailed various paparazzi reports of the love lives of his Three Tenors colleagues, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti, including the affairs that eventually ended their long-term first marriages.[16][17] A reporter for Salon described the book as "a next-to-the-shampoo-aisle tome filled with gushing, sympathetic accounts of the apparently endless extramarital affairs enjoyed by the golden-throated divos." He added that Lewis and Lewinsky's claims possibly illustrated "one of the more peculiar examples of the adage 'like mother, like daughter' in recent memory."[9] Newsweek likewise suggested that the controversy surrounding the book showed Lewis to be "an interesting role model for her daughter."[11]

Success and profit

Lewis wrote the book over a six month time period and received a salary in the "high five-figures" for it. The book was a moderate success, selling around 20,000 copies in hardback.[6]


  1. ^ Littman, Rebecca; Stephen Yusko (December 1997). "Recently Published". Notes. Music Library Association. 54 (2): 509.
  2. ^ Camilli, Doug (9 February 1997). "Author claims Three Tenors are three philanderers". The Gazette. p. D3. In The Private Lives of the Three Tenors, author Marcia Lewis has chapter and verse on numerous flings involving Luciano Pavarotti, Plácido Domingo and José Carreras.
  3. ^ "Books in Brief: Nonfiction". New York Times. 29 December 1999. Marcia Lewis, a reporter for The Hollywood Reporter, displays both insight and a weakness for melodrama in The Private Lives of the Three Tenors.
  4. ^ "The Private Lives of the Three Tenors: Behind the Scenes with Placido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti and Jose Carreras". Publishers Weekly. 243 (36): 104. 2 September 1996. Opera lovers who find concerts given by "the three tenors" to be undignified and demeaning to the art of singing aren't likely to be reassured by this cheesy, slapdash and hackneyed look at the personal lives of the tenors.
  5. ^ Gates, Anita (23 February 1997). "Can I Interest You in a Few Tenors?". New York Times.
  6. ^ a b c d e Leen, Jeff (February 4, 1998). "Role Puts Spotlight on Lewinsky's Mother". Washington Post. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  7. ^ Cooper, Richard T.; La Ganga, Maria; Nelson, Jack (2 April 1998). "Monica's Mom, the Reluctant Starr Witness". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  8. ^ a b Kelly, Keith J. (24 January 1998). "Mom's Tenor Tale Teased Us". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  9. ^ a b c Kamiya, Gary (23 January 1998). "Mommy Leerest". Salon. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  10. ^ Abramson, Jill (23 January 1998). "THE PRESIDENT UNDER FIRE: THE INTERN; Clinton Contributor Recommended White House Aide". New York Times. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  11. ^ a b c d "Clinton And The Intern". Newsweek. 1 February 1998. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  12. ^ Harden, Blaine (25 January 1998). "Ex-Intern's Mother Put the Soap in the Opera". Washington Post. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  13. ^ Lewis, Marcia (1996). The Private Lives of the Three Tenors. Secaucus, N.J.: Birch Lane Press. pp. 18–9. ISBN 1-55972-363-7.
  14. ^ Del Pino, Javier (26 January 1998). "La madre de Monica se inventó un romance con Plácido Domingo". El País. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  15. ^ Lewis 1996, pp. 14-9.
  16. ^ Lewis 1996, pp. 112-3.
  17. ^ Lewis 1996, pp. 181-7.
This page was last edited on 15 October 2020, at 08:43
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