By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Nabucco opens tonight.
Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera
This is sad. Why are opera houses employing Domingo to butcher great Baritone roles? He’s a tenor without the top note. He has no lower register and this sounds as if he’s singing Othello. He was a great tenor during his time but this has to stop somewhere. The commentators on Sirius are praising him as if he’s the greatest things since slice bread. Come on people get real.
“Why are opera houses employing Domingo to butcher great baritone roles?”
He’s able to fill seats better than some other worthier singers. At the Met, in particular, nostalgia plays a huge role, so it’s no surprise that this favorite of the 1980’s should still be attracting audiences.
As for the Sirius commentators, they have no choice but to praise him. They can’t afford to be honest.
While I agree Brooklyndivo that he is a tenor without a top, not a baritone, is it necessarily “sad” though? If he can still sell seats, sound decent, and please audiences, that’s at least part of it.
A lot of female singers have gone from soprano parts to mezzo or lower with some success.
I do not understand all the complaints about
Domingo switching to Baritone roles -his sound to be sure is not baritonal but the voice
in the middle level has not lost its attractiveness and some of the roles he sings such as Simon are older men (I do not know]
about the wisdom of him as Posa at this stage but the Viennese love him and will go to hear him -- if one does not care for his timbre
in the roles he has now undertaken one can sit at home and rehear tapes of Warren, Merrill and Bastianini -- there are not many baritones around these days to match them and some of those who do sing Verdi, Keenlyside, Hampson are also not cavalier baritones vocallly in the truest sense despite their musical intelligence. Some of the older singers, Devia, Gruberova,
along with Domingo sell seats. Let Domingo sing as long as he wishes -- his conducting may be a different matter and when he is no longer on the stage his conducting engagements will probably dry up as well.
But first there will be Luisa Miller and other roles for him to tackle.
Domingo had a couple of bad cracks and I think the voice is not the right sound for these baritone parts but at least he did sing with a certain expressivity, unlike some baritones in the part I have heard who just barely mangaged the music while being utterly uninteresting with it.
I was more disappointed in Levine whose Verdi always used to fizz with electric energy. I thought his account of this gloriously raw and vigourous score was tame and unexciting, which surprised me.
Sadly, it’s likely that the seats he sells at this stage are to the same audience who love Bocelli as an “opera” tenor. IMO, instead of chasing the record number of opera roles, I think he should have kept his legacy as one of the greatest tenors in the second half of the last century, which he undoubtedly was in his prime.
I wouldn’t have minded Domingo making the switch to baritone roles, if he could have managed to darken his tone sufficiently in the transition. To me, his voice is far too “bright” to be convincing in any of these lower Verdi roles.
I have no problem with sopranos switching to mezzo parts, e.g. Regina Resnik. There are some parts which can be done equally well by soprano or mezzo, e.g. Kundry. Likewise, there are roles which can be done by a bass or baritone, e.g. Don Giovanni. It’s much harder to find any parts which could be equally well done by a tenor or baritone--it’s not just a question of range but of timbre. The difference between these 2 voice categories is hard to bridge.
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