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Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Doge Abides

Plácido Domingo to sing Simon Boccanegra with the Opera Orchestra of New York.
Plácido Domingo in the Metropolitan Opera
production of Simon Boccanegra

The Opera Orchestra of New York has revealed its "secret" production of the 2012 spring season, starring Plácido Domingo. 

And it's...Simon Boccanegra. The opera will be performed in concert at Avery Fisher Hall on March 7. This will mark the OONY's first performance of Boccanegra. OONY music director Alberto Veronesi will conduct.

The title role in Boccanegra has long been considered a pinnacle of the baritone repertoire. Mr. Domingo, who began his 50-year opera career singing in that range, added the role to his repertory in 2009. 

Simon Boccanegra had a complex genesis. Verdi wrote the original version of the opera in 1857. The confusing plot and lack of action did not sit well with the public, and the opera vanished from the stage. In 1881, at the urging of librettist Arrigio Boito, Verdi revamped the opera, restructuring the story and adding the climactic Council Chamber scene to the end of Act I.

Although the OONY has a reputation for bringing little-heard works and unusual versions of operas to the ears of New Yorkers, this will be a performance of the 1881 revision of the opera. It is also Mr. Veronesi's second appearance leading the OONY, following a 2010 double bill of Massenet's La Navarraise and Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana at Carnegie Hall.

The opera gained new life in the repertory in the 20th century, becoming a favorite of great Verdi baritones Tito Gobbi and Piero Cappucilli. It is regularly seen at the Metropolitan Opera, where Mr. Domingo sang the role in the winter of 2009. 

Earlier in his career, Mr. Domingo was frequently heard in the role of Gabriele Adorno, the revolutionary firebrand who is determined to knock the Doge off the throne of Genoa. In this performance, Gabriele will be sung by Massimino Giordano. The role of Amelia, Simon's secret daughter and Gabriele's love interest will be sung by Ana Maria Martinez in her Opera Orchestra of New York debut.

This performance will mark the 71-year old singer's only Verdi appearances of the season. It is also his third performance with the Opera Orchestra of New York, following a 1973 Francesca di Rimini and Massenet's Le Cid in 1976. 
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Critical Thinking in the Cheap Seats

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.