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Friday, January 21, 2011

Happy 70th Birthday, Placído Domingo!

We here at Superconductor would like to wish a happy 70th birthday to tenor, conductor, impresario and Simpsons guest star Placído Domingo!
Homer Simpson and Placído Domingo. Art by Matt Groening.
Image © 2007 Gracie Films/20th Century Fox
And just for the heck of it, here's a list of roles (and operas) I've seen the great tenor in, in the course of 20 years of going to the Met. Yeah, I know. I missed Sly, Adriana Lecouvrer and Cyrano de Bergerac and a few others.

  • Radames in Aida.
    This was the broadcast performance, and the first performance I attended at the Met. It was filmed, and is still available on DVD. With Sherrill Milnes, Dolora Zajick, Paata Burchuladze and Aprile Millo in the title role.

  • Siegmund in Die Walküre (Four and 1/2 times.)
    I know that I saw Mr. Domingo in the '97 and 2004 cycles--I saw Poul Elming in the role at least once too--and was at the show in '09 when an ill tenor stepped off in the middle of the first act and was replaced by his cover--who hadn't changed his shoes yet.

  • Don José in Carmen. 1997 (?)
    I saw him in the Zeffirelli Carmen at least once opposite Denyce Graves. Probably in 1997--you lose count after a while.
  • Parsifal in um...Parsifal. (Two or three times.)
    Of the Wagner roles, this one lies very well for his voice. I have seen him as Parsifal a number of times--but I don't recall dates. Hell, that opera's so long I'm probably still there.

  • Idomeneo in Idomeneo
    The role of Mozart's tragic Greek king is well suited to ne of the better recordings he's made

  • Ghermann in The Queen of Spades. (Twice.)
    Placído plays his cards close to the vest--and sings this role close to the prompters' box. But he's surprisingly good in Russian!

  • Samson in Samson et Dalila.
    I saw him get the big haircut from Denyce Graves when this production bowed. I want it to come back.

  • Stiffelio in Stiffelio. (Once with him on stage, once conducting.)
    This is one of the great underrated Verdi operas and Domingo was instrumental in bringing it back to the Met (albeit in an ugly production by Giancarlo del Monaco.)
  • Gabriele Adorno and Simon Boccanegra in Simon Boccanegra (though obviously not on the same night.)
    I've seen at least one performance out of every run of Met Boccanegra since the Del Monaco production bowed. And I saw Domingo as the Doge last year in a late career foray into baritonal repertory.
  • Orest in Iphegenie en Tauride.
    Saw this Stephen Wadsworth production with the Big D opposite Susan Graham in the title role. Looking forward to the February revival.
12 different roles, in 11 different operas, in four different languages. In other news, Universal Classics is celebrating Mr. Domingo's birthday by releasing a giant boxed set next week featuring his complete recordings of:
Carmen, Lucia di Lammermoor, Cavelleria Rusticana, Pagliacci, Les contes d'Hoffman, Tosca, Turandot, Samson et Dalila, Lohengrin and unaccountably, The Barber of Seville with the great tenor in the (baritone) role of Figaro. What? No Parsifal?

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