Cher Public

She said, he said

So Placido Domingo was all like, “Oh, that Anne Midgette is just a mean girl and she is SO JELLUS,” and then Anne was like, “Actually, nuh-uh, maestro, I’m so not.”

  • …and when all’s said and done- as most of us have been- Mr Domingo is still one of the greatest tenors of all time- with over double the number of performances, and more roles to his credit than any who might claim to come second.
    The rest- for whatever reason hardly matters.

    • warmke

      Sorry, but what a silly rationale for greatness. Numerical quanitity doesn’t mean a damned thing. The ability to walk up to the prompt box and parrot what he sees/hears in the same dynamic and color and limited phrasing, although with an attractive voice, does not make great artistry. And don’t tell me he hasn’t sight-read most of his recordings, I’ve seen him at work. He’s a very quick mimic, perhaps unparalleled, except by a few I’ve run into (although a lot in the Wanger/Strauss wing have/had better memories), but it rarely, except for a few roles, ran any deeper than that. He never had the patience to master anything, always on the run to something(one) else. It’s a huge career, a wasted talent more focused on giant celebrity than great art.

      • Sorry Warmke -- we will have to disagree. I think your rationalle of sight reading recordings bespeaks loads about the rest of your assessment. What the hell that’s got to do with anything heaven knows- all the greats had scores in front of them when they recorded.
        As for “never had the patience to master anything”- what an absolute load of piffle in a croc!
        You either can’t be serious or I would be wasting my time in trying to argue with you.
        I appreciate that you mightn’t like the man for whatever reason- but please don’t be ridiculous in trying to find fault.
        He doesn’t owe any apologies for anything. Like him or not- he’s given his life to his art- and I wish there were more like him.

        • warmke

          Didn’t ask you to argue with me. You jumped in, remember? I’ve been present for recording sessions and his performances, knew many involved, know how he works. I’m not interested in your “opinion”, period. But thanks, anyway.

          If there were more like him, all of the houses would be bankrupt.

          • Quanto Painy Fakor

            Domingo aside, I think it was very bad form of Netrebko to insist on using the music during the telecast of the final trio from Faust (even though she’s never sung the role in it’s entirety) in the telecast from the Waldbühne concert. She clearly wanted it there for security and she used it a LOT, but the men did not need it and it all had a very amateurish air about it as it progressed and when they heaved sighs of relief that they made it through the piece. No, it wasn’t sight reading, but she should have been able to do such a famous trio without the music. Looking at it again, it’s a high priced joke and insult to singers who memorize their material. Imagine how much greater it would have been if she were out there soaring without her parachute.
            See if you can tell who is bluffing a little here:

        • Quanto Painy Fakor

          Perhaps you don’t know what “sight reading” is: the ability to pick up a piece of music and sing it at first sight. Most people are not able to do that at performance level. Domingo is a powerful musician. Of course people use scores during recording sessions, but it’s very rare indeed for them to be sight reading. Domingo is a highly skilled sight reader of vocal music. He also has the ability to read and hear music as it appears on the printed or manuscript page. Maybe one day the thousands of high notes he laid down during recording session for possible inclusion in various recordings will surface at auction. Now-a-days he likes using teleprompters placed in various places in the venues in which he performs -- so does Obama.

          • Yep Quanto I sure do know the difference between having a score in front of you and sight reading- just was too lazy to draw the distinction in the arguement considering if a person’s got a score in front of them most observers wouldn’t know whether they were sight reading or not. Warmke’s arguement is so off the wall who cares anyway. :)

          • Love the Faust finale and was interested to see it was only recorded recently- but did anyone notice Nets’s has added more than a few pounds to her schoolgirl figure of late- particularly noticable in the face! Must be the contentment of marital bliss with Erwin.

          • warmke

            Yet my “off the wall” argument is virtually the same as John Steane’s. Do I have to explain who he was, Ruxxy? Or was he also too off the wall? You don’t understand the concepts, so you dismiss them. Not an effective debating technique. Johanna Fiedler also captured the megalomania well, which is only evident when one is dealing with him up close. I’m hardly the first to have articulated this concept that you dismiss. Fandom seemingly doesn’t admit alternate views. This has always been the problems in discussions of this singer.

            Having been deeply involved in many of his performances over a decade, I feel confident to comment on the value (or lack thereof) of them.

          • Warmke you blew me off- now you’ve come back at me so I will respond. I couldn’t care less who else says what about PD- I was only pointing out the fact that whether you like him or not- history shows he has performed more roles and done more performances than any other tenor. That’s not opinion- that is fact. Like all singers- some love him and some don’t- but among those that do like him, some very creditable professionals (who know far more than I do) attest to PD’s achievements and say among many other things, he is one of the century’s great Otellos. I shrink from saying anything because undoubtedly you will now come back at me and tell me he wasn’t….but suffice to say we are all entitled to our opinions and I respect yours and anyone else who doesn’t enjoy his work- but it is also a fact that the number of people who admire him and his work far outnumber those who don’t. What is “silly” or “off the wall” in my view, are claims that “If there were more like him, all of the houses would be bankrupt” and that he has “never committed to anything” (paraphrasing). Those statements are patently ridiculous.
            As far as I’m concerned- when I see his name in a programme at least I know I won’t sit there squirming like I do with so many other tenors wondering if he’s going to make it etc- he has always delivered a solid performance and there are many memorable ones (for me). I can’t imagine what the recorded opera world would have been like without him being there over the last forty years. If nothing else he sure has been an incredibly reliable artist while many others have come and gone or struggle to maintain a ten year hiatus.

          • warmke

            Ruxxy -- I think the problem here is that we are talking about 2 different things, and I suppose I’m not clarifying my viewpoints so you can see where I’m concern. I am referring to the administrator and conductor, of course, when talking about houses being bankrupt, and my other shaper points. It would be a silly conceit to maintain that the singer would do that. But my concern is that his abuse of his power and box-office as a singer was used in a fashion to promote hinself in power gathering ventures that proved to be extremely dangerous to the long term health of the profession in the US. The singer is a separate issue. I am not a fan. nor an admirer, but that is a subjective (although professional) judgement that predates my working with him by more than a decade. But again, mine isn’t the only voice that believes that by stretching himself so far, he failed to do anything beyond the level of artistic mediocrity compared to the greatest singers of his roles. You’re certainly allowed to enjoy his work. But many of us don’t worship at the church of Placido, not that I’m saying you do. But critical voices have been viciously attacked so long that it’s refreshing to hear Midgette be so openly critical of his failings.

          • warmke

            Sorry -- dying keyboard has too many keys not striking. I could only wish it was something as romantic as scotch in the AM.

      • Clita del Toro

        Quantity is not (never) preferable to quality. There is in general a dull sameness and emptiness to Domingo’s singing that turns me off. And I have never got the bit about his being a great musician: why, because he can read music?
        I always say that I can think of three or four (or five) other tenors whom I’d rather see in any of the roles Domingo sang. Maybe with the exception of The First Emperor. lol

        As for the rest of his musical endeavors, I couldn’t care less.

        • Clita del Toro

          Actually, the sight-reading analogy is a good one. Whether he sight reads well or not, everything he sings sounds to me as if he is sight-reading; or to put it another way: there is no there there.

    • ianw2

      I will never forgive him for Beverly Hills Chihuahua.


      • warmke

        Simply beyond the boundaries of what was acceptable. (Although excellent costuming)

      • Gualtier M

        Actually the role of Monte, King Chihuahua is possibly his greatest late career assignment. He should restrict himself to cartoon and live animation dubbing from now on.

        • Gualtier M

  • Quanto Painy Fakor

    Domingo to the rescue!

    • oedipe


      A sound engineer needing to patch something up in a rush would first check the library for a Domingo recording, since PD is known to have recorded EVERY role in the (tenor, etc.) universe.

      • Harry

        oepide; Here’s a horror to contemplate. There must be some crackpot collector fan out there somewhere, that has every Domingo recording ever made. Thinking back, I wonder whatever happened to the Domingo /Dionne Warwick project -- that intended Broadway musical ‘Goya’? I cringe, having to admit , I have a tape of it somewhere. With Domingo crooning away merrily…. “Nothing more…nothing less…if I loooveed you” Yikes!

    • iltenoredigrazia

      That is so sad. Hard to imagine what goes through the mind of a singer when that happens.

      I have mixed feelings about the dubbing. Who wants to hear that crack every time? But I would have preferred to have Heppner tape the note himself.

      The practice goes back as long as the technology has allowed it. A Met broadcast of Lily Pon’s Lucia from the early 50’s had a cracked note replaced with one from her recording. We all know the Flagstad / Schwarkopf story. And in studio recordings high notes were/are often recorded separately and then added. What’s the difference?

      • iltenoredigrazia

        Incidentally, what’s happened to Heppner? Has he stopped singing altogether? What’s he doing these days?

  • casualoperafan

    Yes, which is why it makes no sense and I think she used the wrong word or did not mean to use it in that way, ’cause otherwise that was far from the worse review she ever gave him.

  • iltenoredigrazia

    More on the Domingo/Midgette debate on Saturday’s Washington Post.