Cher Public

A fjord in his future

La Cieca is not sure if this is a casting announcement or the result of a particularly silly round of Mad Libs: Plácido Domingo will add yet another notch to his repertoire, the title role of Der Fliegende Holländer, in a production at the Arena di Verona in the summer of 2013, with Daniel Barenboim conducting. [L’arena]

  • The way I see it, there’s a HUGE difference between Domingo singing Simon B. vs Dutchman. No, Domingo’s vocal colour isn’t suited to Simon either. But there, he can rely on his Italianate phrasing and feel for the music. Also, the character is warmer and more suited to Domingo’s personality.

    While Domingo has a lot of experience singing Wagner, he doesn’t have as natural a feeling for that music as he doees the Italian rep. And Dutchman is a bass-baritone or heldenbaritone role. It requires a certain force that Domingo simply can’t deliver and the vocal colour needs to be even darker than Simon.

    Simon was a stretch and utlimately not a great role assumption (though not bad). But Dutchman is inconceivable.

  • zinka

    I know we have been through this before, especially me, who hates CHEATERS, but having heard about Placido’s plans to sing the Dutchman in Verona in 2013, I am appalled,because a guy named Wagner wrote the role for a baritone or bass-baritone (like when Verdi wrote Boccanegra and Traviata), and with the except of Ramon Vinay, who really was a baritone in many ways, and who essayed Iago,the Dutchman, and Scarpia at the very end of his career, I again feel that only Placido, as much as I respect his achievments, is being allowed to “do what he wants” and I feel this is most unfair to the composers’ intentions.

    Placido’s voice is still amazingly solid, up to about an A,and remember he never really had a secure B or C, but he sounds like a TENOR, regardless of his range, and therefore the tessitura of baritone roles is just wrong for his quality voice, which may be rounder and thicker than say, Calleja or Alagna, but it is still a TENOR SOUND, and I become angry when he is permitted to do anything he wants, thus compromising what the composer intended.

    We have made jokes about his so-called “future roles,” but at this moment I think that the other guy born on Jan.21 (see my e-mail address) will be long dead when Placido sings his first Boris, Hagen, Lillas Pastia, and all the Jews in Salome.

    Am I being cruel??? Sorry, I feel just as tough about this as I do when I hear Angela Gheorghiu on a record, and then hear her live read the Traviata letter (and the rest of the role) in Braille. Now,be nice to me, because on Placido’s birthday I will be ancient (but I do not transpose anything.)
    Lovingly, Charlie

    • iltenoredigrazia

      Agree 100%. And I have been a Domingo fan. Some things are just wrong and this is one of them. (And so are Germont pere and Rigoletto.)

    • At this point, I have a terrible feeling that Wotan is not out of the question. The only thing that I would chance about your post, Charlie, is Domingo’s top notes. I don’t think he has a high A left in him anymore. Maybe a G but certainly not an A.

      • Cocky Kurwenal

        A solid G at least surely, given that Rigoletto was not an absolute disaster. I’d bet he could still squeeze a nasty constricted A out if the mood took him.

  • zinka

    George London, James,Morris,Thomas Stewart, Paul Schoeffler,Hans Hotter, Herbert Janssen, Dionald McIntyre,even Cornell MacNeil….

    Need I say more??????????????????

    • grimoaldo

      Those people are all dead or retired except for Morris and I would rather hear/see Domingo than him.
      I say again that I do not believe that Barenboim would participate in this if it was just Domingo being “permitted to do whatever he wants”. I don’t think Barenboim would go along with that.
      In any case it is the easiest thing in the world not to buy a ticket or listen to a recording of something you don’t think will be any good, I do it all the time.

      • zinka

        Dead or retired???Yeah..Better to see Fleming than Muzio…….

  • zinka

    ANY QUESTIONS???????

  • Cocky Kurwenal

    It’s like Kathleen Battle singing Mistress Quickly. Of all his baritone excursions, the Verdi roles were at least understandable- he does have an affinity with the style and a strong track record in Verdi, and they’re all fathers and sort of suit his advanced age relative to the sopranos he’s been appearing with.

    He’s got away with a few of the (relatively) lighter Wagner tenor roles although the lack of robustness through the middle and lower ranges and the mangled German made even those seem like vanity projects to an extent. The spin that was put on it, about the refreshing change we were getting by hearing an Italianate line and beauty of sound in Wagner wasn’t even true, because Jess Thomas and James King could both produce a more even line than Domingo ever could. The notion of him taking on the Dutchmann, a reall bass-baritone part that needs a young Wotan or an older voice that stops just short of Wotan, is absurd. Sure, he’s not really depriving anybody else of work, but he is bringing about inadequate performances of great works in major venues. If he’d just stop and only do concerts, he could sing what the hell he liked and I guess we couldn’t complain, because they’d automatically be events for partisans.

    I thought Die Frist ist… um… was very funny, whoever said that.

    • bobsnsane

      It was hilarious!

      Yes, let’s give credit where credit is due, Mr. Kurvenal.

      …..Baltsamic Vinaigrette …..
      Thanks, for giving me some
      badly needed
      ‘yucks’ today!

      • Baltsamic Vinaigrette

        Aw shucks, thanks folks!

        As a bonus, here is a (distant) snap of the cast bow at the Nederlandse Opera’s very own Dutchman in February of last year:


        CK, I thought of you in Lyon on 16 June when I saw Jochen Schmeckenbecher (“Crazy name, crazy guy!” as Private Eye’s very own Glenda Slagg might say) as Kurwenal, and immediately renamed him CockyJockyKurwenal. He did fine, though it was the two Pets -- soprano Ann Petersen and conductor Kirill Petrenko -- who triumphed on a night when everybody did well in this splendid new Fura dels Baus (Àlex Ollé) show. [Christof Fischesser’s Marke was another standout.] It remains to be seen whether that, or indeed the above Dutchman, star in a future regie quiz. Either way, they aren’t nearly as upsetting as PD’s latest career move.

  • La marquise de Merteuil

    My 2c … I think everyone decrying Domingo taking on these roles have valid reasons for disliking what he is doing. However, I think someone may have said this on this thread before that maybe he just doesn’t want to stop. The ONLY way I could foresee him stopping is when people stop buying tickets. It is almost always about BUMS ON SEATS. Would you cast Baritone Unknown, or Domingo who will sell out the venue?

    Art aside, no one in this business is doing it only for the love of art -- goodwill does not pay the gas bill at the end of the month! Although I’m pretty sure Domingo doesn’t need the money -- not that I’m his accountant -- I’d hazard to say these projects are the things HE wants to do before he can’t sing anymore and it is not like he is cutting short a career like Villazon did?