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Found object

Well, you can slash La Cieca’s veins, drink her blood and trample her corpse, because she did not see this one coming! According to the very reliable échotiers over at Forum Opera, Placido Domingo will sing his first Conte di Luna in Vienna Berlin in November of this year opposite the Leonora of Anna Netrebko!

158 comments

  • oedipe says:

    But people, please try to understand: performances DO sell out BECAUSE OF Domingo, all over the world, whatever role he may be singing!

    • Clita del Toro says:

      Oedipe, Well, that is their problem, not mine.

      • oedipe says:

        So you didn’t buy a ticket for the Domingo Nabucco at the ROH! And neither did I! Do you know how much Domingo, and the ROH, and the international opera world CARE about what we think?

        • kennedet says:

          But I care about what you and everyone else thinks on this website because of the insightful comments and your love of opera. If money and selling out houses is going to be the only criteria for what is considered worthy then maybe we should focus on hip-hop.

        • Clita del Toro says:

          Oedipe dear, I don’t think that the international opera world or the ROH give a hairy rat’s ass about what we think. If they want Domingo as Luna, goody for them; yucky for me.

          • armerjacquino says:

            So it *is* your problem, see?

          • Clita del Toro says:

            Jacquino: It’s not my problem. Is it my problem that I don’t want to see any particular singer? Is it my problem that I don’t want to see Les Misérables? Is it my problem that I hate Gone with the Wind?

            It is not my problem because I don’t really care that much either way about Domingo’s Luna, as I don’t care about the color of Netrebko’s hair or underwear or what Domingo likes to eat?? ZZZZzzzzzz.

  • operacat says:

    Netrebko and Domingo are also singing together in Verdi’s GIOVANNA D’ARCO at Salzburg this summer — http://www.salzburgerfestspiele.at/opera/giovanna-darco-2013

  • Evenhanded says:

    Well.

    Why is this a big deal? There is plenty of room in the opera universe for Domingo (a highly intelligent, hard-working, esteemed artist of long standing) to take on baritone roles if he so chooses. Perhaps his baritone singing is not everyone’s cup of tea (nor was his tenor career), but why the vitriol?

    Please don’t make the argument that he is “taking roles away from younger, better baritones”. That’s bull -- he is a big name draw and there are hundreds of international venues for the younger generation to populate for a few years until Domingo finally hangs up his vocal cords.

    It’s not as if his performances are akin to late career Moffo (or even half the crap Caballe trotted out over the latter decade and a half of her career). Don’t get me wrong -- I’m not a fan of the idea, but Domingo is still able to sing the notes in tune, with musicality, and a deep knowledge of the art form. There is nothing “embarrassing” about his baritone performances whatsoever (at least the few I have heard).

    Let the man wind his career down as he chooses and get over it. If you don’t like it, don’t attend. And certainly don’t trash his colleagues for collaborating with him. They’re not stupid people, folks, and I’m sure they believe in him and his ability to get the job done.

    On the other hand, if we find out that Bocelli will be the Manrico, well, then we REALLY have a problem…

    • kennedet says:

      Maybe I am over obsessing and I’ll stop with this comment but Domingo is already a vocal operatic icon in the minds and hearts of countless people all over the world. His contribution to aspiring singers is also extremely noteworthy. However, this wonderful world of opera must have some kind of criteria if it will last. I strongly feel that changing voice classifications after your career is over in order to pursue another career in another fach is a major misrepresentation of the art form. BTW, Moffo and Caballe….I don’t think, switched to other voice classification. Can you imagine if this started a trend!!! Singers would just switch to a lower voice classification if there technique failed them. I’m sorry, IT’S CALLED CHEATING !!

      • armerjacquino says:

        Can you imagine if this started a trend!!! Singers would just switch to a lower voice classification if there technique failed them. I’m sorry, IT’S CALLED CHEATING !!

        Helga Dernesch is waiting outside for you and BOY, is she angry.

        • la vociaccia says:

          How about Varnay, Rysanek, Resnik, Norman, and another several dozen singers who successfully transitioned to lower-sitting roles as they aged.

          This constant sputtering about “cheating” is starting to get really, really tiresome, just saying….

          • Krunoslav says:

            Moedl, Vinay, McLaughlin…

          • kennedet says:

            I always expect exceptions or objections to the rule on parterre box.That’s what makes this website so incredible.
            Anyway,I hope some of you are singers or studied singing. Maybe we could let some voice teachers weigh-in on this discussion. Why would you go through the mammoth preparation of having a career (repertoire,voice preparation, roles,etc.)and change at the end or midstream only to find out that you decided to sing in another range. Wouldn’t that constitute that your technique wouldn’t allow you to continue? I think the voice gets richer as you mature not lower unless you were misclassified in the first place!! I don’t believe you can be two voice classifications and I don’t think voice teachers generally teach that. Voice classification is not determined by range only.

            O.K., now we’ll get the discussion about menopause! Never mind.

        • kennedet says:

          Interesting. Thanks for the education. I’ve heard the name but did not know that much about the voice. I listened to her on You Tube. It was a freakish sound from top to bottom. I also read she switched 4 times throughout her career. Do you also think her voice changed four times during her career. Maybe she had 4 voice teachers during that time. Or could she possibly be a mezzo who sing in the soprano range? Countless Mezzos have told me that they can sing soprano but not for a long extended time.The top notes on the La Forza were sung with lots of pressure. I’m glad she settled on Mezzo at the end of her career.

      • kashania says:

        I’m not a fan of Domingo’s new career as a baritone, but one can hardly say his technique has failed him. In fact, one can argue that his technique has served him exceptionally well, allowing him to sing for some 45 years and taking on some of the most difficult roles in the repertoire along the way.

        And it’s quite common for sopranos to switch to mezzo part way through their career. So, I don’t know how not switching to mezzo constitutes a defense of Caballe or Moffo (who were criticised for the quality of their late-career performances).

        • Cocky Kurwenal says:

          I can’t say I agree that his 45 years of career is any kind of evidence of a sound technique. Even in the 70s he was getting through things with a great deal of strain and desperation. He just strikes me as somebody with an incredibly robust instrument that has been able to stand up to the beating it has had, rather than a well looked after one.

          • paddypig says:

            Placido’s career is actually well into its sixth decade. He made his american opera debut in Lucia di Lammermoor with Lily Pons in Dallas in 1961 and was singing in Mexico in the late 50s, including Freddy in My Fair Lady. The birthdate has always been questionable. Years ago, reliable sources all claimed he was really born in 1934, which would make more sense if you go back and research his early career, not many tenors sing major roles in an auspicious American debut at 20 years of age. The voice usually is not ready, It is similar to Lily Pons who claimed a 1904 birthdate but made her professional debut as Lakme in 1916, (real birthdate was either 1898 or 1897) Olivero’s birthdate has often been debated but 1910 seems most likely and Licia claims 1913 but there is a youtube video of her 100th birthday party in 2008, and people I know were there.Marilyn Horne and Raina Kabaivanska also have reportedly shaved five years off their ages Yes, as a baritone he sounds light and tenorish. but one cannot criticize the singing itself, the artistry or the musical style. He is truly amazing. and honestly, Domingo made a career on musicianship, intelligence and artistry,and stage presence, the voice in itself was never that exciting, never had the high C and always did better in the lower lying tenor rep.

          • oedipe says:

            Yea, but 45 years of career at the top of the heap is evidence that he has been doing SOMETHING right, whatever that something may be.

          • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

            Are you kidding? Domingo can set a huge auditorium resonating with a mere vibration of his vocal folds. He IS amazing.

          • phoenix says:

            El Dominador -- nearly a half century of self-promotion -- jockeying between conductor and singer, changing voice classification -- a living icon with a Name. I remember going to one of Martha Graham’s last performances. She barely did a ten minute sketch and the audience jumped to their feet. Same with Ruth St Denis’ last performance (which I also saw live) -- she strutted out onstage, threw her head back, puffed herself up and lifted her arms high in the air -- and that was it -- the audience was satisfied. A Name is a Name is a Name is a Name is a name is Name …

          • Clita del Toro says:

            A name is a name, yes. I have NEVER been a Domingo fan, and, imo, he rates below the following tenors: Vickers, MdM, Kaufmann, Pavarotti, Björling, Di Stefano, Kraus, Tucker, Corelli, Windgassen and others. One reason is (and I have said this 100X) is that there is not one role Domingo sings in which I wouldn’t rather hear three other tenors.

            So, when Plamingo makes his big farewell run, I will just say, bye, bye; no crying, no shouting or wringing of my hands. Just a big ZZZZzzzzzz

          • marshiemarkII says:

            There goes my girl clita!!!!!!
            Sentiments exactly mine!

          • oedipe says:

            One reason is (and I have said this 100X) is that there is not one role Domingo sings in which I wouldn’t rather hear three other tenors.

            It would be a great exercise IMO to take Domingo’s roles (and Osiris knows, he has done so many!) and name the 3 tenors you prefer hearing in some of them. Each of us could do the same thing and we’ll see what result we come to. It would be a step forward in the direction of replacing remarks about singers based on gut reactions (whether good or bad) with something a little more specific and substantial.

          • kashania says:

            I agree that the key to Domingo’s longevity has been one helluva durable voice. Those two vocal cords of his have been able to take whatever he’s thrown at them. However, surely, technique must have something to do with it. I don’t disagree that he strains on some high notes (even in his early days) but obviously, he found a technique that worked for his instrument.

          • rapt says:

            I’m definitely an amateur here, my knowledge of Domingo limited to broadcasts, recordings, etc., but I have never understood the anti-Domingo animus of some commentators. Just to stir the pot, I’ll note that I thought his Hoffman and Don Jose were as well done as I could imagine them being done.

          • marshiemarkII says:

            Caro oedipe Vickers Vickers and Vickers :-)
            Seriously though in Italian: Corelli del Monaco Bergonzi in any role. Not to mention Vickers Otello.
            In German of course Vickers King Kauffman Heppner and so on…..

          • Clita del Toro says:

            Oedipe:

            Otello: MdM, McCracken, Vickers
            Faust: Bjoerling, Kraus, Kaufmann
            Siegmund: Vickers, Kaufmann, King
            Duke (Rigolletto.) Bjoerling, Tucker, Bergonzi, Pavarotti
            Radames: Bergonzi, Corelli, MdM, Tucker

          • marshiemarkII says:

            And by God I left out the greatest Luciano in any role they had in common except Otello of course where Vickers will rule for ever and ever.

          • Clita del Toro says:

            Cavaradossi: Di Stefano, Corelli, Bergonzi, Bjoerling, Pavarotti, Tucker
            Rodolfo: Bjoerling, Di Stefano, Bergonzi, Tucker, Beczala

          • Clita del Toro says:

            Don Jose: Tucker, Kaufmann, Alagna, Vickers

          • armerjacquino says:

            Are we seriously doing this? I could name literally dozens of great singers who don’t have a role I wouldn’t rather hear another singer do. So?

            Let’s take a random example. Tomowa-Sintow was a great singer, but I’d rather hear Della Casa or Janowitz as Ariadne, Crespin or Schwarzkopf as the Marschallin, Price or Callas as Aida, Freni or de los Angeles as Amelia Grimaldi, Steber or Vaness as Donna Anna…

            Does that mean T-S wasn’t a great singer? No, of course it bloody doesn’t.

          • armerjacquino says:

            I’d rather hear Verrett as Eboli, Cossotto as Amneris, Tebaldi as Tosca and Ludwig as Venus.

            Therefore, by the weird logic of this thread, Grace Bumbry is suddenly not a great singer.

          • Clita del Toro says:

            Jacquino, you have a point there. It probably just means that Anna T-S was not as good as the others in that one role??

          • armerjacquino says:

            (didn’t bother naming all three, but you get the idea)

          • la vociaccia says:

            I think there’s a difference between disliking someone’s interpretations and viewing them as a second-rate musician. I don’t think it’s being argued that Domingo isn’t everyone’s favorite -- the point is, he’s not *bad* at singing, or even second rate, and FWIW his technique has worked for him; I find it hard to believe that he simply was endowed with a pair of indestructible vocal cords that could withstand 50 years of supposedly faulty technique in increasingly heavy repertoire.

          • Clita del Toro says:

            Amer: There must be a reason why you would rather hear those others instead of Bumbry.

          • armerjacquino says:

            Amer: There must be a reason why you would rather hear those others instead of Bumbry.

            Yes, there is. I marginally prefer them. But I’m not daft or solipsistic enough to think that the fact Bumbry is maybe my fifth favourite Eboli and my eighth favourite Amneris in some way means she isn’t a great singer.

          • Clita del Toro says:

            Jacq: Did I say that Domingo was not a great tenor? All that I am saying is he is not a favorite and like many others over him. I just prefer NOT to listen to him, he bores me.

          • armerjacquino says:

            Oh, I see. Phew. I was worried that the ‘three singers I prefer’ meme was going to turn out to be a totally pointless waste of time for a moment there.

          • oedipe says:

            Well, to the extent that a singing career is made of specific interpretations of specific roles, and not some general, abstract criteria of technique and voice quality (and size), then yes, the notion of the best singer(s) for a given role does have a meaning.

          • kashania says:

            What about Domingo’s Hoffman? I haven’t heard it myself but I know that it is highly regarded (even by a friend of mine who is not a big Domingo fan by any means).

            BTW, I don’t think this exercise is pointless; it’s rather fun, actually.

          • oedipe says:

            Domingo’s Hoffmann? It’s good, as long as one doesn’t mind transpositions.

      • quoth the maven says:

        If the singer produces a compelling rendition of the music, it isn’t called “cheating”; it’s called “good singing”--no matter what his or her previous repertoire might have been.

        BTW Dernesch as a great mezzo. (I never heard her live as a soprano.)

        • kennedet says:

          You’ve obviously missed by point re: cheating and misquoted me. Also, if you look on You Tube you can hear her La Forza rendition (Dernesch).

          • quoth the maven says:

            Yes, I obviously have missed your point. What is it?

          • la vociaccia says:

            The point, QTM, is that unless Kennedet approves, a singer is no more than a narcissistic hack with good public relations and a disdain for vocal technique.

      • Indiana Loiterer III says:

        But voice classifications aren’t set in stone the way, say, clarinet classifications are. They’re after-the-fact more or less averages developed to cope with the infinite gradations the human voice is capable of. After all, not all roles fit snugly into one Fach or another--and this is particularly true for the boundary between soprano and mezzo(e.g. Santuzza, Dorabella, Didon) Not to mention that bodies themselves, that is the very instrument a singer performs with, change as singers grow older--menopause isn’t the half of it. Imagine if a clarinet changed so drastically over a period of twenty years!

        • Clita del Toro says:

          Indiana--well said and so true.

        • kennedet says:

          Every trained voice technician should be aware of the “gradations of the human voice and what it is capable of” and therefore will make a judgement about the student’s classification based on that reality. Classification is one of the most controversial subjects in classical voice training and I knew it would draw heated responses. After all voice development is not a science (yeah!!) and there are infinite theories about how to accomplish a professional sound. Let’s give the voice technicians,coaches and conductors the credit and responsibility of making the decisions where the voices fit and also knowing the roles. Dorabella has and can be sung by a Mezzo but she should have good high notes because the range of the role demands it. Yes,bodies change as we age…. the voice usually grows richer and the stamina is not what it used to be but it doesn’t change that drastically unless the body is sick. A good technique will keep you going without changing your fach.

          • la vociaccia says:

            Kennedet, I hope you realize that you have contradicted yourself in that post. If every trained technician should make judgements based on what individual voices are capable of, then how can you make sweeping generalizations about “cheating,” if all voices are different? You said it yourself -- a Dorabella can be sung by a mezzo with good high notes, just like how a soprano with a strong middle and lower can successfully sing Carmen (De los Angeles, Crespin, Ponselle). For that matter, would you consider it “cheating” that De los Angeles (a Marguerite, Manon, and Violetta) sang Rosina in the original key (a contralto role)?

            All of those singers I mentioned straddled their respective fachs, and were able to transition from one to the other with varying success. I am not talking about a Roberta Peters or Lily Pons taking on Erda; nor am I talking about Juan Diego Florez losing his top and taking on Leporello. I am talking about singers that were never easy to define, and who chose repertoire based on how their own instruments developed.

    • Clita del Toro says:

      Yeah, like Renaay recording with Bocelli.

      • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

        There’s no money in that for Bocelli -- he makes much more than Phlegmming and she would do nothing for his fan base.

      • kennedet says:

        My initial comments vociaccia had to do with Domingo ONLY. Therefore the replies and comparisons should be comparable to the same circumstances. What I have been dealing with is sentence fragments from what I have written. Obviously, it’s too late to set that straight based on the replies.
        I cast a soprano for the role of Dorabella after looking at the role and her range throughout the score. Her aria is in the Mezzo anthology.The operatic scores call her a soprano. Go figure… another debate for voice classification. However,you are correct,
        singers have been straddling fachs probably since time began but it seems that we will never have a consensus about the concept of voice classification but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter… like some have written. It is of utmost importance that voice teachers know about the voice and where to establish its range when training a singer. It can destroy a singer if not attended to properly.

        BTW,I heard De los Angeles give one of her farewell recitals years ago and she sang the entire lieder recital in Mezzo keys. I’m too tired to take on another post re: whether she is a Mezzo who mastered the soprano range or whether she was always a soprano who decided to change in the last days of her career. Peace.

    • Rowna says:

      Opera is art and business. While parterrians may be just interested in discussing the artistic merits of singers or productions, at the end of the day, if $$$ don’t come in, the entire industry will be kaput. I have many friends who think Bocelli is great, as they do with Charlotte Church or Sarah Brightman. I say nothing. If they ask me my opinion, I say, I am glad you like them, but they just aren’t for me. Oftentimes, people’s interest in pop styled classical music leads them to what we, here, would call the real deal, and then better art can be supported.

      • kennedet says:

        Someone told me; You know what God thinks about money…..look who he gives it to.

        The past years of PBS offerings of opera and classical music have been squandered by an influx of pop music with smatterings of opera periodically. There is a reason for this! The argument is always whether the the public wants it or the bosses make the decision. Nevertheless, we lose. Don’t you think that we know the importance of money and what it means for everything in this world?? Does this mean we prostitute our love for opera and classical music and settle for what the general public wants. Don’t you understand that we are in the minority just by loving opera in today’s world??
        Sometimes you need to speak up against the status quo. Yes, and sometimes you lose but you stay true to your principals. I’m too old and set in my ways to even accept the term pop styled classical music. It’s either pop music or classical music. This is crazy!! Basta!!!!

      • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

        I’m sure the sold out house for Bocelli’s next MET engagement will be a night to remember.

      • decotodd says:

        This was actually my experience as a teenager — I’d seen Jane Powell or Jeanette MacDonald sing various arias in old movies, and it piqued an interest in that music and opened the door to opera. I still find Powell’s voice quite lovely in timbre (though not so much in the operatic pieces). And I know La Cieca has in the past posted that beautiful version of the 2 ladies singing Grieg’s “Springtide”

  • Vergin Vezzosa says:

    I really hope that Netrebko’s Leonora is successful and expect that it may be. If so, I would also hope that she brings it to New York (with, of course, a different baritone).

    • Clita del Toro says:

      Do you doubt for a millisecond that Netrebko’s Leonora won’t be successful?
      ROTFLMAO

      • Do we really need to go back to discussing as nausea the whole trills and coloratura/bel canto thing?

        Nebby, I am sure will do her best. For some, it will be the second coming of the young Caballe, for others, it will be the second coming of Florence Foster Jenkins. Others will sleep through it all.

        • stevey says:

          Hi Lindoro!

          I’m REEEE-ally hoping that you won’t take this the wrong way or consider me impertinent in doing this, as the last thing that I want to do is offend… but I just wanted to correct you on something- the correct phrase you should use is “ad nauseam”, it’s from the Latin, of course, and means ‘to the point of nausea’. (You used it perfectly, of course… just the actually spelling of the phrase was erroneous).

          Lots of people make the same or similar mistakes, actually- they know the phrase and know its meaning, as well as what it sounds like… but how it’s spelled is another story altogether, a fact which is perfectly understandable considering how lamentably low our exposure to, and ability to increase our knowledge of, latin is nowadays…

          Anyway, all my best to you. :-)

  • Avantialouie says:

    Trebs and Placido BOTH in “Il trovatore” AND “Giovanna d’Arco”? Well, La Cieca has it right: you could slash my veins, drink my blood, and trample my corpse before I’d pay good money to go to either one. She doesn’t have enough bel canto technique for either role; he doesn’t have enough voice for ANY role. There are good singers in the world available for these operas. Too bad that no one in Berlin or Salzburg will get to hear them.

    • Clita del Toro says:

      Avantiaouie: But, she will be a smashing hit in both! Isn’t that all that counts? :+)

    • tiger1dk says:

      Avantialouie, in my view you are somewhat exaggerating the bel canto technique necessary to be a good Leonora. I know the part quite well and it is, in my view, much less demanding in bel canto technique than many of the other parts Ms Netrebko has sung (Lucia, Elvira, Anna)- even if I will happily admit that her bel canto technique was probably on the “low side” for these true bel canto part. You can be a successful Leonora even if a few runs are not perfect or a trill less than ideally executed. As I can see, a part like Leonora is exactly the right direction for Ms Netrebko at this point.

      • Clita del Toro says:

        I think Trebs has well enough coloratura technique for Leonora.
        Zinka, Price and Stella had less. Callas had MORE!

        • Clita del Toro says:

          Tebaldi had none! lol

          • Camille says:

            You have the mostest&thebestest!!!!!!!!

            Cheers, darling Clita la Coloraturissima
            xxxoooxxxoooxxxoooxxxoooxxxoooxxx
            CCC

          • perfidia says:

            But she had enough self-awareness not to sing Leonora except on records, and even if the coloratura passages are a trial, that glorious sounds is to me what a great Leonora is about.

          • Cocky Kurwenal says:

            I don’t really get why she did Traviata in the theatre but Leonora only on record. I’d have thought the other way around would be more sensible. With no coloratura chops and a dodgy high c, her sempre libera must have been just awful, and I think the size and bite of her voice would have seemed de trop for the rest of the role.

            Leonora, however, doesn’t have anything as challenging in coloratura terms as sempre libera, and overall to my mind can take more of the grand Tebaldian sweep in its lines. I guess the very top of the Act IV cavatina would have been a bit of a scream, even without the d-flat.

          • Clita del Toro says:

            Cocky, I think that Trovatore has much more coloratura passages than Traviata and sprinkled throughout the opera, not just one cabaletta.

            When Tebaldi sang Traviata at the Met she lowered the Sempre Libera by a whole tone; on her early studio, by a 1/2 tone. And with that, her Sempre was only so-so and cackly.

            Tebaldi’s thing was verismo, Puccini and the later Verdi roles such as Aida, Desdemona, the Forza Leonora and Amelia (Simon). The closer she got to bel canto, the worse she got.

          • Cocky Kurwenal says:

            I agree it comes more frequently, but it’s never as challenging.

          • Clita del Toro says:

            Cocky, you are right, but for Tebaldi any coloratura was challenging. For Tebaldi a simple turn could be a problem.

          • Clita del Toro says:

            I do wonder why Tebaldi never sang Amelia in Ballo other than on recordings. Or did she??

          • kashania says:

            Another thought. Leonora’s most challenging bit of coloratura comes at the end of “Tu vedrai” after the “Miserere”, a section that used to be cut in Tebladi’s time anyway. But there’s no cutting “Sempre libera” and “Un di felice”.

  • OpinionatedNeophyte says:

    How am I the first to post Anna singing this music? I am not her biggest fan by any means, especially in bel canto rep. And its in those sections where she struggles the most. Though weirdly its her clunky descending scales that are the most painful, not the trills (though you don’t quite realize just how important landing like a feather is to the beauty of the piece till you hear Trebs stomp her way down the stairs). And OK, there are a couple of weird legato problems, but the vast majority of this is great singing. Who else can sing the aria this well today?

  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:




  • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

  • The_Kid says:

    ok, my turn :P

    1. i’d happily hear birgit nilsson sing anything, from adele to erda, rather than listen to domingo (who i rather like) sing rigoletto. hell, i’d rather listen to birgit sing rigoletto!

    2. i’d rather have ewa podles play edith piaf in a revival of the eponymous musical rather than listen to debbie voigt cackle through ‘hojotoho’.

    3. i’d happily hear anyone sing seigmund (from windgassen to neil patrick harris) rather than listen to MdM shout the thing as if Siegmund is a recovering crack addict.
    BTW, why the Maria Caniglia hate? That Tosca movie was Corelli wasn’t that bad, we’ve all heard much worse Toscas.