Placidone's in Beijing for his annual singing competition, Operalia, where forty finalists will be whittled to ten young hopefuls for the final round on June 10th. Above, Chinese artist Li Yansheng presents the Spanish tenor with a portrait.
The Daily Mail's interviewed "arguably the greatest tenor on the planet" to plug his upcoming Turandot ~extravaganza~ at Wembley and in trademark DM style, they've gotten everything wrong, starting with his name.
Another year, another birthday. Placido Domingo turns 70 on January 21st. We're worried that too much world travel has influenced Angie's wardrobe -- and not in a good way. Flight attendant Angela wants to know if you'll be having the chicken or the beef.
From the January 2011 French Photo magazine, Placido Domingo stands among living legends Mickey Rourke, Christopher Walken, and Lou Reed in a stunning 2008 polaroid by Julian Schnabel in his Simon Boccanegra gear.
\m/ metal \m/ Placidone's portrait is 1000000000000 times sicker when listening to Queen's Flash Gordon Battle Theme (below). We can't believe it's 2011 and no one has written a Flash Gordon opera yet. C'mon.
On Friday, using a giant, dolly-mounted Polaroid camera from the ’70s, Mr. Schnabel took the B-list actor Mickey Rourke’s photograph for a forthcoming Village Voice article about his new film, “The Wrestler.” And then he painted Plácido Domingo.
Plácido Domingo's in Budapest, Hungary where today he spoke in a press conference to announce that he'll conduct Bánk bán, an opera by 19th century composer Ferenc Erkel for the Los Angeles Opera's 2011/12 season. Bánk bán, written in 1861, follows the 1213 assassination of Queen Gertrud, the first wife of Andrew II, king of Hungary.
Later he ducked into a tree-trimming charity event. ~I wish I was a sentimental ornament you hung on the Christmas tree~.
A new opera, a new look. It's been one year since we've seen the Spanish tenor without his sweet fluffy lamby beard. Above is the latest shot (with OC's mindreading, ESPN skillz) from the (previously postponed) upcoming Los Angeles Opera world premiere of Il Postino, a new Spanish language opera by composer/librettist Daniel Catán which was inspired by the 1994 Italian movie of the same name. Domingo stripped down (his beard) to sing the role of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda.
Act II of Placido Domingo's "Rigoletto" from Mantua is just over, live on Italian TV -- Act III to follow tonight at 11:10PM, and there are a few more first impressions, before a full review to come tomorrow.
DP Vittorio Storaro -- the man who shot Last Tango in Paris, The Conformist, Apocalypse Now (now in a new edition), Reds, The Last Emperor among many others -- switched beautifully from the Caravaggio, oil-lamp palette from last night to a fantastic, multilayered use of natural day light coming from the large windows of the Palazzo.
Conductor Zubin Mehta speeded up the tempi a lot -- last night's tempi, as OC reported, were definitely dragging, probably due to technical issues -- the show goes live, the orchestra is elsewhere, the singers have to pick up cues from carefully placed small LCD screens showing them thje conductor. Act II had the benefit of speedier tempi, a very lively, elegant Verdi.
Vittorio Grigolo, looking hotter and hotter, dripped sexual tension and youthful vigor -- until Placidone showed up and gave a performance that, far from perfect vocally, especially in the "Vendetta, tremenda vendetta" where his lack of vocal weight was clear, is astonishing in its psychological depth.
As OC wrote last night, PD's Rigoletto is a court jester of intimate dignity, that carries the weight of his shame, of his sins -- a man on the brink of madness whose cruelty is played very close to his chest, a man who understands that it's the love for his daughter that keeps him human -- that keeps him sane.
Julia Novikova, who wasn't particularly strong in Act I (nerves? if that's the case, it's very human and understandable), grew a lot in Act II, vocally and especially dramatically.Even if Domingo had declared to the Italian press that Rigoletto moves him so much that he was afraid he'd cry during the performance, we did not expect that to actually happen. But fleetingly, in Marco Bellocchio's close up (more tomorrow in the full review about Bellocchio's many subtle, wildly intelligent touches) in the natural light and deep shadow of Storaro's genius -- Storaro's Rigoletto is a primal, merciless story of good vs evil, of light versus darkness -- "Ah! piangi, fanciulla, scorrer fa il pianto sul mio cor" was underscored by Domingo's tears. Staring in his daughter's eyes, Domingo's Rigoletto cries. Gilda, in her fear and sorrow, calls that "the voice of an angel", an angel to comfort her -- Domingo understood that it is indeed an angel speaking, not one with wings but one of the better angels of our nature. It's Rigoletto's humanity singing, the reason for Rigoletto's -- and Domingo's -- tears.
For all its vocal limitations (and thankfully this is a miked-up TV show, no necessity to project in an opera house), this is an extraordinary performance.
More tonight about Act III, and a full review tomorrow.
ZDF offers a slide show of rehearsal photos from the live-action Rigolettothat's taking Mantova by storm on September 4. It's Rigolettowith Placido Domingo and Vittorio Griogolo in the true-to-libretto locations of Verdi's opera (OC posted about it here).
All the world's a(n) (opera) stage. Verdi's Rigoletto takes it to the streets for a live-action performance of the opera, where the singers will wander Mantova's authentic landmarks noted in Francesco Maria Piave's libretto: Palazzo Te, Palazzo Ducale, and Castello di San Giorgio will be lousy with opera spectators and singers -- among them Ruggero Raimondi, Placidone Domingone (singing for the first time Rigoletto), and Vittorio Griogolo as the Duke. RAI's Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale will provide the soundtrack, conducted by Maestro Zubin Mehta.
Directed by Marco Bellocchio, RAI will broadcast «Rigoletto a Mantova» live to 138 countries on September 4 & 5. Although the interactive idea isn't particularly new (there's a live "Tosca in the Settings and Times of Tosca" from 1992 and a "La Traviata à Paris" from 2000), it attracts both opera fans and haters.
Vittorio Grigolo spoke to Corriere della Sera (above) about the possible backlash from critics and opera purists who could crankily pan the unconventional Rigoletto as a detraction from the Opera is Serious Business ethic. Grigolo doesn't really care as long as the event has the potential to bring young people closer to opera. He also says it's important for him to sing and develop his career when he's young so that it attracts teens and new audiences to opera -- because if he doesn't e/insure a loyal following now, who will come to see him in 2035 when he hopes to still be singing? Don't worry, OC will be there in 2035 to hear him in Alfano's Cyrano...in vintage Alaia and orthopedic Roger Vivier.
Girl, where've you been? Fresh faced Angela Gheorghiu hung out with Plácido Domingo in Madrid yesterday for a press conference promoting Verdi's Simon Boccanegra. Teatro Real hosted opening night this past weekend with Jesús López Cobos conducting Giancarlo del Monaco's production. Tomorrow night, the star-crammed cast takes the rotation: Domingo as lead Boccanegra, Gheorghiu as Amelia, big-a$$ bass Ferruccio Furlanetto as Fiesco, and Marcello Giordani as Adorno. When Angie, Placidone, Furlanetto and Giordani are off doing whatever it is that makes them all so fabulous, this current run of Teatro Real's Boccanegra stars Inva Mula as Amelia, Giacomo Prestia as Fiesco, Fabio Sartori as Adorno, and George Gagnidze as Boccanegra.
Photo: ANSA and AP
Click the link below for one more photo of Angie and Placidone...
Opera Chic was rooting for the other team, but Spain won the World Cup last night in South Africa, so more power to them -- at least we're happy for Placido Domingo, who was there (far right in the photo above) to celebrate with the team and various Spanish hooligans.
Since it was announced in January, we've been sweating The Los Angeles Opera's incoming season, mainly for the world premiere of a new L.A. Opera commission, Il Postino (and speaking of new opera, if you missed The Washington Post's recent, excellent pieces on new commissions, written by Anne Midgette, Part I is here and Part II is here).
Il Postino has been inspired by the 1994 film, The Postman, (and adapted from the novel Ardiente paciencia by Antonio Skármeta) Mexican composer Daniel Catán will have the honor of opening L.A. Opera's 2010-11 season in September with his brand-spanking-new Spanish-language opera and libretto. Tenor Charles Castronovo will sing the lead Mario Puoppolo (Rolando Villazon was originally cast but then he pulled out), while Placido tackles the juicy role of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda; Chilean soprano Cristina Gallardo-Domâs will sing Matilde Neruda.
Opera Chic shares this exclusive first look at Los Angeles Opera's banner of Il Postino, which will appear on the First Street side of Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Photographed by Los Angeles-based photographer (and opera fan) Art Streiber, whose photos have graced Vanity Fair and our beloved W Magazine, it's Placidone as Neruda (as Philippe Noiret).
"I just don't want to go further than I should.
I suppose there's a certain limit: I don't want to be 70 and still
opera. I don't think I will still be singing on 21 January 2011, which
He's once, twice, three times a Domingo. Sette ran a small piece on ~Christus Domingus~ in praise of his multi-tasking: as a singer, a conductor, and a talent agent. Placido Domingo is currently judging in his Operalia competition, which is taking place for the first time in Italy, right now at La Scala. The ten finalists will sing it out in a final concert on May 2 at Scala.
Milan has accomodated Domingo fever with Operalia signs posted in the windows of Milan's smaller shops. Even sides of trams have been slapped with Operalia posters, which is rare for Italy's understated PR approaches.
Placidone's return to the opera stage last night in Milan after a two month recovery from colon cancer surgery as Verdi's Simon Boccanegra was undoubtedly heroic, admirable, and almost miraculous – especially in this annoying new age of divas and divos cancelling performances on a whim without giving any more explanation than “illness”. But this premiere of Boccanegra didn’t yield the dream reception (as some are erroneously spinning without even having been present) that the Spanish tenor could have wanted, nor a Boccanegra who Verdi himself could have imagined affecting the role. And it certainly didn’t rise to the unbridled success that greeted it in Berlin last fall for Domingo’s role premiere.
Last night at la Scala for the opening night of Verdi's Simon Boccanegra with Domingo in the title role, the unruly loggione made sure that the drama on the stage would be shadowed by the drama in the stands, made even more effective by a curse hurled at the stage by one of the angriest ticketholders.
Despite an overwhelmingly positive curtain call before the first (and only) intermission, thirty minutes of interval was to be the final moment of tranquility: As Barenboim returned to the podium, he was jeered with endless bouts of booing, all of which he glared down. First came calls of "vergogna", then came a clear shout of "vaff*****", but after an old man shouted "basta", enough, Barenboim finally faced the orchestra and continued the opera.
At the end of the opera and Domingo's heart wrenching death, the tenor (as baritone) was initially met with clusters of booing, although it was effectively eviscerated by the overwhelming cheers. And after the loggione's decisive gutting of Barenboim during the intermission, the upper galleries emptied quickly and the Domingo-enforces stayed around to cheer their hero in front of the curtain. A success surely for Domingo, Hartejos, and most of the cast, but marred by boos, especially directed towards the production team and Barenboim.
As we tweeted earlier live from la Scala, Daniel Barenboim got slapped around quite a bit by the loggione at Scala for his decision to conduct a speedy, macho, not particularly subtle, rushed Simon Boccanegra -- his personal wrestling match with the upper tier of the opera house was particularly rough at halftime, with many jeers and even a few people yelling "vergogna" (and at least one obscenity) to the unflappable conductor.
At the final curtain call, the loggione sort of went to town but quickly left after the first round of boos; the general effect at final curtain was a mix of boos and bravi. Jose Carreras, that wonderful gentleman, present in the audience -- palco reale, the royal box baby! -- to enjoy his old colleague Placido Domingo's performance as Boccanegra, received a nice "bravo Carreras", too.
Placidone -- together with the production crew -- received a share of the booing, too, a most crass decision by those in the audience who booed him given that Domingo underwent surgery for colon cancer a month ago -- if you didn't like the dude's performance fine, shut the hell up for once, the man showed courage and grace during rehearsals and tonight, don't boo for once, the integrity of the art form will survive ok thx.
The unsinkable Placido Domingo, who'll debut as Boccanegra on Friday night at la Scala, gave an interview to Corriere della Sera where he drops two big bombs -- he actually feared he'd have to quit singing -- "For a few interminable moments I was anguished and feared that I could not sing anymore" -- because of the malignant polyp that was removed from his colon last month in New York; and in September he'll appear -- "I hope to make it, it depends on my energy levels and on the way the audience will judge my Boccanegra" -- as Rigoletto, in Mantua, to be filmed by RAI television and conducted by Zubin Mehta.
Not just unsinkable, Placidone's a full-blown baritone, too, now -- watch out Leo Nucci!!!
Great news for Placidone Domingo, his family and friends, his fans and those of us who already shelled out the big buck$ for la Scala's obscenely-priced Boccanegra tickets. The singer
was discharged Sunday from Mount Sinai Hospital of New York City after successfully undergoing
laparoscopic surgery to remove a localized malignant polyp in his
colon, his representative Nancy Seltzer announced Monday morning.
The 69-year-old tenor is expected to make a full recovery. He is recuperating in New York.
doctor's orders, Domingo will rest for six weeks. His return to
performing engagements will depend on how quickly he heals and returns
to full strength, Seltzer said.
It is anticipated, she said,
that his first singing performance will be in "Simon Boccanegra" at La
Scala in Milan, Italy, on April 16. He also is set to perform in "Die
Walküre" as part of Los Angeles Opera's "Ring" cycle starting May 30.
Last night at Scala Placido Domingo was given his due after 40 awesome years of work at the Milanese opera house in the form of a big partyparty -- a gala night where he sang alongside Nina Stemme and Kwangchul Youn. At the end of the recital, he basked in a 25-minute standing ovation, with half-crazed, half-naked opera fans eventually chasing him around the cobblestone streets when he made it out of the theater.
Opera Chic is told that, in recent memory, say in the last 20 years, only Lenny's last concert here drew a similar reaction from the audience.
Here's a video -- NOT taken by Opera Chic -- of a few seconds of the post-concert cheering for the big man.