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The lovely bones

“Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager… has engaged Mr. Domingo to sing Don Carlo in Ernani next season, Simon Boccanegra the following season and Nabucco in 2016-17.” [New York Times]


  • 1
    m. croche says:

    On track for Titurel, 2021.

  • 2
    PetertheModest says:

    Domingo is getting on a bit, but he is still alive, and still in reasonable voice. For his age, he is a phenomenon.

    • 2.1
      bachrocksmysocks says:

      Actually, he is NOT in reasonable voice. I heard him singing from the fourth row center of the Met on Wednesday and his singing is embarrassing. As someone who works in the opera industry with friends who are employed by the Met both as full time employees as well as singers in current productions, I can assure you that the majority is in agreement that the old man needs to retire already. Programming him to sing is purely to put butts in seats.

    • 2.2
      bachrocksmysocks says:

      Actually, he is NOT in reasonable voice. If he did not bear the brand name Placido Domingo and someone heard him, they would think he is terrible and probably literally laugh out loud.

      I heard him singing from the fourth row center of the Met on Wednesday and his singing is embarrassing. I can assure you that the majority within the opera industry, including those at the Met, agrees that the old man needs to retire already. Programming him to sing is purely to put butts in seats.

      • 2.2.1
        Big Finn says:

        With big names in performing arts, it becomes a distinct possibility that eventually adoring fans return to appreciate what the performer w a s . Nothing wrong (though a tad melancholic) to love someone for whom he or she was.

        I remember attending a MET performance of dance in the final years of Rudolf Nureyev. Could he dance, jump high? Did he still look good in tights? Certainly most people attended the performance for the sake of the Big Name, and most realized his Big Time was long past, so there was loads of love for what he had been.

          PushedUpMezzo says:


  • 3
    figaroindy says:

    But(t) you have just answered the question -- it still DOES put butts in seats…which pays the bills. and sometimes that’s not true of other singers. When it stops doing so, or he chooses to quit, or some other thing happens and change occurs….OK fine. But, if it’s doing what’s intended, why is that a problem? Another post today complains that other baritones aren’t right (Hampson -- too old, voice shot, and Goerne -- too lightweight)for certain things…so, if Domingo wants to sing baritone roles, and people want to, and pay to, hear him…no harm, no foul. And, if his embarrassing singing still gets buyers, and others who are “employed” do not (and we’ve also seen posts on here about empty seats at the Met for many productions)…so be it. Sometimes, the nitpick contingent is just exhausting.

    • 3.1
      armerjacquino says:

      Bravo. This is a very simple equation. People are still paying to see Domingo so he is still worthy of his hire.

      • 3.1.1
        bachrocksmysocks says:

        If people want to pay to *see* Domingo, that’s fine. Embalm him and put him on display in a glass case. But, it’s sad people still pay to *hear* him.

  • 4
    skoc211 says:

    I don’t recall what the consensus was around these parts about his Germont with Damrau at the Met last season, but I found his performance to be incredibly moving and more than satisfying vocally.

    • 4.1
      Poison Ivy says:

      I saw him. His voice really doesn’t have the weight or color for a baritone but he was sensitive to the Italian opera style and sang with sensitivity. His characterization was also more sympathetic than the cold-fish portrayals of previous Germonts in the Decker production. It was an honorable if not entirely vocally satisfying outing.

      • 4.1.1
        Bill says:

        Poison Ivy and Armerjacquino & Crew -- points well taken -- opera may be an art, but opera
        houses are also a business (trying to break even).
        Domingo is a big name, sells tickets, and in those operas where he has recently sung Baritone
        Roles, it is hardly embarassing to hear his voice --
        the color of the voice is still that of a tenor --
        but we are not amassed currently with aging Cavalier Baritones who are superb in Verdi’s
        father figure bariton roles -- I find Domingo’s
        voice still attractive. When one gets down to it
        some of the oldest well known singers who are
        still on the stage (Domingo, Gruberova, Devia)
        there is an attraction to hear and see them even
        in their current vocal estates -- they have loyal fans and they sell tickets and garner publiciy for the opera houses which still engage them -- when
        they are no longer to the opera house which engages them, they will not be engaged. Sometimes with an adored singer who is no longer fresh of voice, even a few good notes, phrases, bring back memories soaring of earlier times and that in itself can illicit a positive reaction is. We all have heard singers no longer in their primes with enjoyment at their continuing efforts and -- when Milanov was aging just that wondrous B flat at the beginning of Giocanda was worth the whole price of admission or just to watch Varnay (long past her vocal prime) embrace a role dramatically -- or having had the chance to hear Flagstad live 3 times in 1951-2 when her voice was not as fresh as it had been in 1935 -well who would give up that opportunity or even Jeritza singing Rosalinde, Salome, Turandot, Tosca, Minnie in the 1950’s -- well over a decade after her retirement. Sometimes small blessings can still be treasured.

          Ilka Saro says:

          I heard Bergonzi in recital at the end of his career. Charming, still amazingly pure and clear of sound. Incredible line. And he came no where near the pitches on the top. He would climb and climb and just never hit the note. It WAS beautiful to hear him, and I am also glad that he pulled out of the Met Luisa Millers he was doing at the same time. There’s a place for hearing one’s beloved older singers, and there’s a place not to.

          As for Domingo, it’s more a matter of principle. It doesn’t bother me that Domingo is singing Nabucco, but that there aren’t any other actual Verdi baritones up to the task who have as much star attraction as our Calm Sunday tenor.

          • armerjacquino says:

            Yes, I agree with your last para (and I’m insanely envious you saw Bergonzi, too). It is a shame that we lack a big star baritone for heavy Verdi. In the meantime, though, any singer has every right to take any role that’s offered to him.

            • Regina delle fate says:

              Hehe Armerj -- I don’t like to rub this in, but I saw Bergonzi in his prime, and later, as Cavaradossi, Manrico, Nemorino and Edgardo -- to Joan’s last London Lucias -- still kicking myself that I missed his Ballo performances, and Radamès. But you have consolation of knowing I will be dead long before you!

            • armerjacquino says:

              I saw Walter Berry. That still blows my mind a little.

          • Jack Jikes says:

            I went to one such Bergonzi recital -- at Carnegie.
            Unforgettable! A “Musica Proibita” replete with grace notes
            had me in a near swoon. I went expecting very little and instead found myself in the company of greatness.

            • Ilka Saro says:

              The recital I saw was at Avery Fisher. Similarly unforgettable. It’s easy to say that Bergonzi recorded well. Certainly he made loads of recordings. But I never heard him live until the very end of his career, and I have to say that there was a beauty to his tone that didn’t come across in recordings. A roundness, a fullness, a sweetness. And so much cantilena. It wasn’t just that the voice was so sweet to the ear, but the way he carried those qualities from one note to the next. Old fashioned Italian singing! Who cares if he was flat on top?

    • 4.2
      Liz.S says:

      skoc211, I agree. Whether he’s a true baritone or his singing is still beautiful or not, IMHO, too, his Germont brought back the real (for me) Verdi Papa Germont in terms of dramatic expression esp. in recitativo with Violetta, and that unfortunately had been missing for years in this house. Singers in generations younger than him still have a lot to learn from him -- I thought at that time.

  • 5
    Sempre liberal says:

    I’m just thrilled there will be a Simon Boccanegra in 2015-16.

    I suspect Domingo will not wind up actually singing in it, but you never know.

  • 6
    phoenix says:

    Does anyone know of any other mediahyped singers from the past who got booked to perform leading roles into their 70’s? Domingo is a tough old bird & many opera fans are attached to the past … I am sure others have done it already, but not with such an all encompassing grab as he is trying to do.
    -- Olivero made her farewell at 71 -- Gedda sang into his 70’s I believe, but I don’t know where.

    • 6.1
      Poison Ivy says:

      If Gruberova can hang on a few more years she might break Domingo’s record.

    • 6.2
      antikitschychick says:

      well idk if he can be considered ‘media-hyped’ but Nucci is still singing also (he’s 71). He and Domingo shared the role of Nabucco at ROH early last year w Lumi. I thought Nucci was (naturally) much more effective in the role though I didn’t dislike Placido either.

      • 6.2.1
        phoenix says:

        Sorry. By mediahyped I meant singers who receive press notice bookings in international houses (as well as performing in smaller venues).
        -- My favorite Italian baritone, Renato Bruson, sang Falstaff in Parma last October at the age of 76 -- he was booked through December 2013 -- I haven’t heard of any farewells yet on his part.

          Ilka Saro says:

          For sheer beauty of tone, I never heard another baritone like Bruson. Maybe Tibbett, but I can only go on old recordings for his tone.

          Would we had a Bruson for the Nabucco!

          • MontyNostry says:

            Bruson was always a very classy and stylish singer (he blew Renee and Rolando out of the picture in that DVD of Traviata they made together), but I’ve never thought of his tone as especially beautiful -- a bit contained and nasal to my perception, without a real ring to it. Talking of the relative dearth of Italian(ate) big baritones, I was interested to see that Giovanni Meoni, who made a positive impression in the Met Attila, is singing Macbeth in Toulon (not even Toulouse) this April.

  • 7
    antikitschychick says:

    “and Nabucco in 2016-17”

    Which obviously begs the question: who will be the soprano singing Abigail??? :-P.

    Also, hurrah for him admitting he is a Baritenor :-D. As far as his continuing to take on Baritone roles, well, as several posters have noted,if ppl continue to buy tickets to see him in said roles then he will continue to sing them. Its that simple.

    • 7.1
      Guestoria Unpopularenka says:


      • 7.1.1
        antikitschychick says:

        lol that’s actually not a bad idea Guestoria. I doubt she would be willing to sing that role but she’d be good in it.

          Guestoria Unpopularenka says:

          Domingo will hypnotize her into taking on those roles :D

    • 7.2
      armerjacquino says:

      LM is the obvious choice, yes, or Serjan. When I think of other singers currently singing the role internationally -- Gheorghiu, Matos, Valayre, Cornetti- none of them appeals much to say the least, especially in 3 to 4 years’ time.

      • 7.2.1
        armerjacquino says:

        Actually, is Valayre even still singing? Nothing on operabase since 2011.

          armerjacquino says:

          And where did GHEORGHIU come from? I meant Guleghina, obv. Total G-based mindmeld.

      • 7.2.2
        Bianca Castafiore says:

        And of course, you have heard them all live, that’s how you always form your well-formed opinions, as usual!!!!!

      • 7.2.3
        antikitschychick says:

        you know armer, I do and I dont want her to sing it. I mean, if it will be a high-profile event, with a new production and an HD and all that then yes, rather than have someone else sing it, I’d rather it be her IF they are not going to hire her for anything else. But ideally, she should be exploring other rep in 2-3 years time.

        Also, are you sure Gheorghiu sings that role?? I find that highly unlikely.

          armerjacquino says:

          See above. Started typing a G and my fingers did the rest. I am very amused at the idea of a Gheorghiu Abigaille. We can put it alongside a De Niese Minnie and a Guleghina Gretel.

          • manou says:

            Soon to appear as Minnie in the forthcoming Opera Holland Park season -- Parterre fave Susannah Glanville.

            • Regina delle fate says:

              Really Manou? Not this summer, surely???? The last I heard of her, apart of course from all the memorial First-at-the-Met posts we have read on here, she was doing second-cast Toscas for WNO or Opera North. I can’t imagine her improving on OHP’s last Minnie, Elisabeth Blanke-Biggs. Whatever happened to her?

            • Regina delle fate says:

              Ooops -- First-Lady-at-the-Met. Sorry!

          • Ilka Saro says:

            Try saying Guleghina Gretel 3 times fast.

      • 7.2.4
        operalover9001 says:

        2016-17 seems a bit early for Radvanovsky, but I assume she has her eye on the role eventually…

      • 7.2.5
        Regina delle fate says:

        Which LM, Armerj? Latonia or Lyudmila?

  • 8
    antikitschychick says:

    yeah he’ll tell her things like “Callas sang it and you are our modern-day Callas, you have to sing it!” lololol.

  • 9
    Signor Bruschino says:

    He was a few boxes away from me last evening at Wozzeck- and I kept thinking, will he want to add that to his repertoire next? That would be an…interesting…evening

  • 10
    Will says:

    As to longevity on the opera stage, French baritone Lucien Fugere retired at 85 with Bartolo in Barbiere di Siviglia. Hugues Cuenod debuted at the MET at 85 as the Emperor in Turandot and came back for at least one more season in the role.

    The champ is certainly Martha Eggerth )b. 1912) whose career lasted fropm 1932 to least 2007 with recital appearances in NYC when she was 95. Wikipedia says she actually sang in public at 99 but does not give any particulars.

    Licia Albanese (101 late this coming July) sang in Sondheim’s Follies in Texas at 74.

    • 10.1
      tiger1dk says:

      Nicolai Ghiaurov sang major roles until his death shortly before turning 74, such as Dosifey, Pimen and Basilio. Mark Reizen sang Gremin (and apparently very well) at 90 -- but I do not know if this was a one off or if he actually kept a regular performing schedule until that age. Singing the operetta singer in Follies at 74 is nothing, Rosalind Elias did it on Broadway at 82.

      • 10.1.1
        MontyNostry says:

        Here’s the wondrous Mark Reizen at the age of 90.

      • 10.1.2
        Hanna says:

        Oh yes, old Ghiaurov as Pimen …incredibly strong performance. At the end, just watching Pimen watching Boris die had me in tears.

  • 11
    Henry Holland says:

    Good, anything that keeps him thousands of miles from Los Angeles is fine with me.

  • 12
    Camille says:

    As to Sr. Domingo putting butts in seats — just checking again for Student Ticket Offers,( as that is a task I perform for the good of my husband’s students), there are offers for tickets on both March 12 and March 20th for The Enchanted Island, with Domingo, of course. Now, those offers are only made if they are really, really not selling the house.

    Also, FWIW2Y: Plenty of Sonnambula tickets, Wozzeck, and Vittorio Grigolo tickets still available for students, an unusual high number.

    Watching Student Ticket Offers is always an interesting indication of what is working, and what is not.

    • 12.1
      La Valkyrietta says:

      There are few operas I adore more than Sonnambula, Camille, but I will not go to the Met to see that disgusting show that carries the beloved name, even if the tickets were free. I saw this “production” once and was sick for days. :(

      • 12.1.1
        Satisfied says:

        Ugh, I agree with you about the production but I don’t want to miss Damrau’s only New York opera this season! Am I wrong in saying this will be her first Amina?

          armerjacquino says:

          No, you’re not.

          I’d actually be quite interested to see this, were I a New Yorker. In among all the fury there were a few quiet, interesting voices piping up to say how much they enjoyed it.

          • Batty Masetto says:

            I liked it (in the HD). It didn’t bowl me over, but it was amusing and had a good deal of charm in a completely non-nineteenth-century way.

            As for the internal contradictions that troubled some people – meh. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen an opera production that didn’t have some kind of significant issue in an exposed place, and that includes the wonderful recent Parsifal and Igor. One can fixate and fume, or one can move on and see if there’s still stuff to enjoy. As far as I’m concerned, there was, and part of it was the slightly Marx-brothers goofiness of the world the production established. Which didn’t exclude the possibility of touching moments.

      • 12.1.2
        havfruen says:

        Maybe there are still some “restricted view” seats left for Sonnambula? One could also go with VERY dark glasses. I’m going for Damrau. Maybe the sets will get stuck in NJ and they’ll have to do it in concert form.

          armerjacquino says:

          Damrau as Amina:

          PS: after all the talk of her unflattering costumes in RIGOLETTO and the Scala TRAVIATA…

          • antikitschychick says:


            That was certainly interesting lol. I didn’t really like the ah non credea…thought it was a bit too mannered/gimmicky w the pianos (and there wasn’t enough pathos for me) but the cabaletta on the other hand was total camp. Very entertaining. Thanks for sharing armer.

      • 12.1.3
        Camille says:

        Don’t worry. I am sitting in my box and will be donning my sleep mask if the going gets too rough. This is a part of “The Vinnie B. Trifecta” this year, and my attendance is compulsory. Next up, at April’s end: I Puritani!!!

        Happy Ides of March, 2U2!!’ May the best opera survive!

        In fede belliano—

    • 12.2
      m. croche says:

      Hooray. Sonnambula may be the only thing I catch at the Met this season.

      • 12.2.1
        m. croche says:

        Aside from grippe, of course.

          Camille says:

          Do be careful, croche!

          I was only here three days and caught an illness from sitting in Carnegie Hall from Thommy Hampson. At least I am gonna blame my hacking and spewing on him ’cause he was there, too. Everyone in NYC looks so grey and worn out and weary from this Long, Freezing Winter and I feel so sorry for them all.

          Are you going to be here for the Whitney Biennial? M. Camille is quite happy you pointed that all out, for he had been busy and forget about it, so thanks a bunch!

          • m. croche says:

            I’ll miss the Ashley operas at the Biennial, which is unfortunate. Please ask M. Camille to provide us with a full report.

            • Camille says:

              Promise that whatever he may get around to seeing he will recount to you, if via myself as necessary intermediary. He is terribly busy and tired out these days and won’t likely be able to attend all, as he would have liked.
              When he does have the time to cast an eye on parterre, he is always on the lookout for your very interesting posts and profits from them, and further appreciates what you do for the cause of the living composer.

    • 12.3
      armerjacquino says:

      Camille: I’m not sure the Domingo audience necessarily crosses over with the Enchanted Island audience, does it?

      I’d say he’s probably still a draw for the likes of NABUCCO or BOCCANEGRA though. Well, we’ll see!

      • 12.3.1
        Camille says:

        Honey—for the true Domingo hounds—it’s the only time they can catch him at the Met this season—therein lies the rub.

        Otherwise, of course not. The thought would not occur to them.

        As Damrau handles regie with flair and does not suffer from “Lack-of-voiceitis”, as did the previous sleepwalker, I will take a chance with her. At least she can trill and is a very smart cookie.

          Regina delle fate says:

          “true Domingo hounds”!!!! lolol Abso-bloomin’-lutely priceless, Camille.

    • 12.4
      Guestoria Unpopularenka says:

      How do you know how many student tickets are being offered?

  • 13
    luvtennis says:

    Nabucco in 2017. Please, God, let Kermes be the Abigaille!

    Then finally, maybe, we can see what opera is supposed to be about. Real singers singing “real” opera. The rest of you just listen to your old records of fat singers like Caballe and Pavarotti. We want opera for today’s generation!!!!!!!!

    • 13.1
      kennedet says:

      Are you listening to yourself, lovetennis? Will you have this attitude IF you live to be old? Don’t you think young people want to listen to old fat singers like Caballe and Pavarotti? I feel I’m at an advantage because I’ve heard them live, several times. Ageism can be linked to all of the other predujices others have toward people who cannot help being who they are.

      • 13.1.1
        Guestoria Unpopularenka says:

        I think he/she was being sarcastic.

          Camille says:

          I know he was being sarcastic!

          kennedet says:

          O.K., I’m “Sheldon Cooper”. I can’t fathom sarcasm. Blame it on my age.

          • Camille says:

            Oh no, don’t be so hard on yourself: you are probably just not that familiar with luvtennis and his manner of expressing himself! He loves that old time religion.

            • kennedet says:

              Thanks. I thought I was the old-timer on this blog.

            • Camille says:


              Camille was born in 182—- so you are just a spring chicken in comparison.

              Don’t beat yourself up. There are plenty around here who will gladly do that for you so save yourself the trouble!

      • 13.1.2
        zinka says:

        I just decided to BURN all my Muzio, Ggili, and other recordings (most of my house) and buy those wonderful new digital recordings that bear no resemblance to what opera should be!!!!!!!

        Vergogna to Lovetennis…you better never listen to that stupid old Flagstad..We need FRESH BLOOD in the….or…..or…….??????

          armerjacquino says:

          zinka, you’re overreacting to some pretty heavy sarcasm. There is literally nobody in the world who feels the way lt pretends to in that post.

          • zinka says:

            Not sure…I do know some people who cannpot listen to anything that ain’t digital..Tne jury ist aus!!!!!!

          • luvtennis says:

            Thank you, AJ and Camille. I knew you would get it. Sheesh. But it would be cool to watch Kermes break dance her way through early Verdi.

            Either that or maybe she can replace Left-eye Lopez in the planned TLC reunion….

            As for Domingo, there’s no use in complaining…. As long as we lack a stable of real Verdi baritones they are going to hire him. Sucks but if we had a new Bastianini or MacNeil, this would not be a problem.

            • antikitschychick says:

              a little break dancing would certainly spice things up :-D. Speaking spice, I think she’d make a perfect addition to the Spice Girls too. She’s certainly got the feisty funkiness down pat! :-P.

      • 13.1.3
        luvtennis says:


        I would never be disrespectful of my elders. In fact, I was poking fun at a certain type of fan. I realize now that I should have added some type of sarcasm warning.

        But I can assure that I listen to my recordings of past greats all the time. Indeed, I am usually criticized for being an old fogey -- and as someone who is about to hit the big 44 years old, I am no spring chicken.


        And isn’t Camille just wonderful. Sometimes, I lurk just to read her wonderfully civilized and humane posts.

        She reminds me of myself sometimes…. ;-)

          kennedet says:

          Luvtennis: Who Knew??!! I’m just satisfied it’s all came to a better understanding. Thanks for the reply.

          Yes, Camille is brillant in many ways.

    • 13.2
      Ruxxy says:

      What is it you can’t face luvtennis?

    • 13.3
      zinka says:

      LORD FORBID we have to endure a Kermes….I want to bring back Caterina Mancini,Maria Callas, or Marisa Galvany..REAL singers…but I hope they do not have a good I do not have to be forced to hear a tenor sing baritone…Sick of his “political clout.”
      Opera for “today’s generation’ is a TRAVESTY in many ways…… i guess we should burn all our old recordings and enjoy the boredom of so many singers,who have NO CLUE as to operatiuc traditions (with notable exceptions of course.) Demeaning tradition is a disgrace…

    • 13.4
      NPW-Paris says:

      Hehe. Kermes seems litle different from…

      • 13.4.1
        NPW-Paris says:

        Little, sorry. Note the standing ovation.

          armerjacquino says:

          She was great in LACE though… ;-)

          • MontyNostry says:

            The Marschallin has her levée and her philosophy, but Arielle has her Lévy and a philosopher.

          • Gualtier M says:

            The time is ripe for my long-ago suggestion for an operatic adaptation of Shirley Conran’s “Lace”.

            Pagan: Susan Graham
            Judy: Renee Fleming
            Maxine: Natalie Dessay (or Elisabeth Vidal)
            Lili: Danielle de Niese with the coloratura aria “Which one of you bitches is my mother???”
            Aunt Hortense: Francoise Pollet

            This has to happen.

      • 13.4.2
        Grane says:

        “…mais la robe et la sillhouette sont renversantes.” I’ll say!

  • 14
    zinka says:

    LUVTENNIS!!! Go to the following site (organized by la Cieca) and LEARN something:

    OR just read the posts here and find out that opera did not begin with Renee Fleming.

  • 15
    La Valkyrietta says:


    I for one, before burning any Flagstad or Gigli, would burn all the HD I have. It would not be a great financial loss to me anyway :).

  • 16
    luvtennis says:

    La Valkrietta:

    Now you know, I was just joking. I think it is a good bet that I have more recordings of great singers of the past than just about anyone else who is still legally sane. I practically put Ward Marston’s children through college while I was still in college myself!

    My post was intended to be in the style of those youtube comments usually posted by game non-English speakers who are big fans of Bartoli or Anna Netrebko.

    For the record, I would rather be chopped into messes than forced to listen La Kermes and Doming sing Nabucco either now or in 2017.