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Placido Domingo interview


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#1 dirac

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 11:08 AM

Peter Conrad talks to the inexhaustible Placido Domingo, for the Observer. He was never my favorite tenor back when, but you gotta admire the guy.

http://observer.guar...1524880,00.html

Our conversation occupied what should have been his break between acts; I was confronted by a Wagnerian savage dressed in tattered pelts and covered with battle scars and purple gashes, who all the same played with a pair of reading glasses as he talked. Watching him emote onstage and schmooze in the backstage corridors had made me weary, so I asked what kept him going. 'It is my responsibility. The public does not know if you are tired from travelling or not well. I had a little cold the other day, from the air-conditioning. I cannot let that stop me. I must live up to what people expect.'

That sense of obligation, rare in performers (especially among the flighty narcissists who sing opera), is the essence of his character and accounts for the esteem in which he is held. He always justifies the price of the ticket, because he sets out to earn his reputation all over again every time he sings.



#2 Helene

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 01:11 PM

I find it very frustrating that Conrad discusses an apprenticeship in Israel and skips straight to Domingo's career at the Metropolitan Opera. Domingo was an up-and-coming star at New York City Opera before he put a foot to the Met's stage, and he starred in Ginastera's Don Rodrigo, a new opera commissioned for NYCO's opening at the New York State Theater. He was one of the few in that era that made the jump successfully, instead of being considered a poor cousin of his Metropolitan Opera brethren, the way too many singers languished in the Bing Era.

#3 richard53dog

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 03:13 PM

Domingo was an up-and-coming star at New York City Opera before he put a foot to the Met's stage, and he starred in Ginastera's Don Rodrigo, a new opera commissioned for NYCO's opening at the New York State Theater.  He was one of the few in that era that made the jump successfully, instead of being considered a poor cousin of his Metropolitan Opera brethren, the way too many singers languished in the Bing Era.

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Yes, I think he chalked up 4 or 5 seasons there. I saw him a number of times in Puccini and light Verdi roles there.

After 1968 and his Met debut, he tapered off his appearances there but still did a run of Roberto Devereuxs with Beverly Sills in 1970. But by then he was considered a star, they were almost like "guest" appearances.

And Helene's point is good. So few singers had real careers at the NYCO and then moved to the Met. Maybe Troyanos?

richard

#4 zerbinetta

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 06:16 PM

So few? It was almost a training company for the Met.

Samuel Ramey. Jose Carreras, Carol Vaness, June Anderson, Renee Fleming, Ashley Putnam, Gianna Rolandi, Erie mills, Jerry Hadley, Richard Leech, Vinson Cole,Justino Diaz, Mark Delevan,Olga Makarina, Maureen O'Flynn, Elizabeth Futral ..
.. & Beverly Sills.

Another dozen or so will occur to me as soon as I post this.

#5 bart

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 07:28 PM

I think that, of the older generation, Sills and Domingo were the only bona fide, long-term "stars" of NYCO -- charismatic performers whose appearances sold tickets regardless sof what they did -- who went on to be stars at the Met as well. You can't really consider them as having been younger singers gaining experience before moving on, and Sills's Met debut, especially, was scandalously overdue when it happened.

Sills was incredible in her fairly wide repertory -- and often, I think, underrated as an actress. Domingo is one of the greatest tenors in stage performance (if not always in sheer vocal beauty) and has worked hard at becoming a respectable conductor. Both Sills and Domingo -- like Helgi Tommasen, Edward Villella, and others in ballet -- have made a most successful transition to directing companies. I'd love to know how much of that they learned at the NYCO.

#6 Farrell Fan

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 07:45 PM

Yes, the list of New York City Opera singers who moved to the Met is long and distinguished. But perhaps the greatest artist I ever saw at the New York City Opera never had a desire to move there. I'm talking about the bass whose many roles included King Dodon, Gianni Schicchi, Boris Godunov, Giulio Cesare, , Mefistofele, and the Rev. Olin Blitch -- Norman Treigle. In my opinion, the greatest period in NYCO history was when Sills, Domingo, and Treigle were in residence.

#7 zerbinetta

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 08:37 PM

The current casting policy under Paul Kellogg is to use very young & relatively inexperienced singers. Stars are rarely asked to sing there. A rare exception will be Carol Vaness in the fall season's Ariane et Barbe Bleue by Dukas.

So it will be a while before any of these younger singers make it to the Met.

The Met's Lindemann Young Artists Program, however, has been developing wonderful young singers for years & those young singers are frequently used in smaller roles in Met productions.

#8 Helene

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 08:40 PM

So few? It was almost a training company for the Met.

Samuel Ramey. Jose Carreras, Carol Vaness, June Anderson, Renee Fleming, Ashley Putnam, Gianna Rolandi, Erie mills, Jerry Hadley, Richard Leech, Vinson Cole,Justino Diaz, Mark Delevan,Olga Makarina, Maureen O'Flynn, Elizabeth Futral ..
.. & Beverly Sills.

Another dozen or so will occur to me as soon as I post this.

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Most of these were in the post-Bing era, and Ramey was another who was long overdue.

#9 zerbinetta

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 09:00 PM

Ramey certainly was overdue but what a smasher of a Met debut he finally made! & he's been on their regular roster ever since.

& we shouldn't forget Julius Rudel either.

#10 Helene

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 09:02 PM

Ramey certainly was overdue but what a smasher of a Met debut he finally made! & he's been on their regular roster ever since.

& we shouldn't forget Julius Rudel either.

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Yes he did!! He stood with his arms upraised and holding some type of spear or weapon at the end of his big aria, and held the pose for a long, thunderous ovation. I couldn't believe that his arms didn't drop off -- he must have had real strength in his back.

#11 zerbinetta

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 09:21 PM

Ramey arrived on a large ornate platform, carried by 4 or 6 attendants & there was a bit of a bobble in their coordination as they reached stage front center. Sam wasn't phased a bit & then proceeded to sing the "Sibilar" like no one had ever heard it sung before.

A triumph & quite thrilling for all the Ramey fans in the audience as well as the newly created Ramey fans.

#12 zerbinetta

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Posted 11 July 2005 - 09:52 PM

P.S. Carol Vaness also made her Met debut in that Rinaldo production, later in the season. & I believe it was Frank Corsaro's directorial debut as well.

I'm smiling, remembering it as something very special.

#13 richard53dog

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Posted 12 July 2005 - 07:28 AM

P.S. Carol Vaness also made her Met debut in that Rinaldo production, later in the season. & I believe it was Frank Corsaro's directorial debut as well.

I'm smiling, remembering it as something very special.

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Zerbinetta, you're right about Vaness and the other singers you mention, but I think Bart's point is important; i.e. the Bing era and then later. After Bing left the Met, the flow was much more as you describe.

Still, Gilda Cruz Romo and Maralin Niska did come to the Met from the NYCO during Bing's time, but I consider them house singers.

One oddity. Shirley Verrett sang at the NYCO as Shirley Carter. In her case, it was a tiny career at NYCO and a much biger one at the Met and starting during Bing's time

Richard


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