Part of the recent pledging activity on PBS included a film about Placido Domingo's favorite roles. There are some expected things and some surprises. I am posting some films, but they aren't necessarily the same ones as are in the film. He was the opera singer of my generation.
Carmen by Bizet
Was there ever an opera singer like Don Placido? I think it is the almost magical combination of manly beauty and emotional intensity that sets him apart, quite in addition to the voice that sings anything. He sings all those roles because he can. The intensity of his Don Jose is unsurpassed, not even by Alagna.
Luisa Miller by Verdi
At this point in the program came an interview with Deborah Voigt who sang Sieglinda to his Siegmund. "He lives in the moment."
La Fanciulla del West by Puccini
I have a copy of his Fanciulla in my video collection. I liked very much Licitra in this role, but he could not compare to Domingo who raised this opera to greatness.
Andrea Chenier by Giordano
I think this recording is a fragment. See here for the whole thing.
For his Tosca by Puccini we include two recordings. First is "Recondita Armonia."
This is "E Lucevan le Stelle."
This glorious film made in Rome in the real places of the opera's setting is also in my video collection. It is pleasing to see him talking about the filming. The orchestra was in another part of town.
After Tosca came an interview with Erwin Schrott.
Tales of Hoffmann by Offenbach
You'd have to show the whole opera, which I'm not prepared to do. I always understood Hoffmann to be Domingo's favorite.
Samson et Dalila by Saint-Saens
This film is just a fragment, but it gives you the idea.
I Pagliacci by Leoncavallo
This is a film by Franco Zeffirelli, also in my collection. With the YouTube film comes this comment, "When I really want to hear an especially great voice (as I often do) perhaps I won't choose his. But... if I want to have a complete theatrical experience — with tears and laughter — perhaps how the composers themselves would have like to see, I have not yet found another tenor that puts everything together to breath life into an opera like Placido Domingo. Without him, I dare say operatic standards would not be where they are, today."
This comment is also how I feel about him. I wouldn't sit and listen to him on my iPod, but for the full operatic experience, no one tops him.
After this was an interview with Anna Netrebko. She talks about sneaking in to see him sing Otello in St Petersberg.
The best comments from Domingo come here. "Better too early than too late." :-)
He talks at length about his voice in this role. "You have to live so intensely; you have to have the stamina; you have to be convincing as a Shakespeare actor; you have to have the high notes; you have to have the low part; you have to have the metal to pass over the orchestra; you have to have the velvet to sing the love duet." He, of course, had it all.
He has led us to know that more is possible. Perhaps opera today is what he has made it.
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