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July 14, 2010

Tenor Placido Domingo to add Rigoletto to his new baritone repertoire

Placido Domingo, who enjoyed considerable success this past season moving back into his original baritone range to sing the title role in Verdi's "Simon Boccanegra," is about to take on another of the composer's great baritone challenges.

The superstar tenor and general director of two opera companies (seen in this photo celebrating with Spain's World Cup winners) will sing the iconic role of Rigoletto Aug. 2 month in Beijing. He'll be joined onstage for this concert version of the opera by members of Washington National Opera's Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. In September, Domingo is slated to sing that role in a performance of "Rigoletto" that will be broadcast live on Italian TV from Mantua, where the opera is set.

Clearly, Domingo is destined to enjoy bigger and bigger chapters all to himself in future histories of opera singing.

The Beijing cast includes

Micaëla Oeste as Gilda, Yingxi Zhang as the Duke, Grigory Soloviov as Sparafucile and Cynthia Hanna as Maddalena. Eugene Kohn will conduct the Chinese National Opera House Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.

The performance will be at the Reignwood Theater, where, wouldn't you know, Domingo is artistic director, too (this guy makes most workaholics look like slackers), and where the WNO's young artists first performed in 2009 as part of a three-year venture.


Posted by Tim Smith at 1:44 PM | | Comments (7)


Ha, I like how he's trying it out in a can't-fail setting: supporting his young artist, with a libretto in front of him (lets face it, it's not the score he usually can't remember), among people so young he's bound to sound fatherly no matter the timbre, and among the Chinese which will at worst be politely indifferent.
Not too crazy about him doing Rigoletto, but better than Iago.

Ahem, where did you get the idea he can't remember the score? He usually remembers other singers' roles and can play a lot of the orchestral music on a piano. You must have him mixed up with someone else. Opera wasn't always as limited in voice ranges and timbres, as it is today. When operas were first written in the "old days", the composer often rewrote parts for different or favorite singers. Doing something lyrical nowadays is a lot better than introducing "modern" unmelodious so-called "operas" which are quickly forgotten -- and justifiably so.

Reignwood Theatre is tiny and private-it will be an invited audience. That's how they avoid having to file for a permit from the Ministry of Culture, and also how to control who they want in the audience.

Chillax, Robyn. Chillax and reread before you get too ahead of yourself.

Holy $#!t. . .

Placido Domingo is well known in the industry for showing up barely prepared for many engagements. His extraordinary musicianship allows him to get away with it, but the prompter is his best friend. But it is a source of amazement to professionals I know that someone SO talented and SO musical has never taken the time, for instance, to straighten out his German diction.
I've read a story of someone who observed rehearsals for "The First Emperor" (written for Domingo)at the Met and was surprised opening night that the staging didn't REALLY call for the Emperor to be staring at a book in his hand all night. LOL! It is a tribute to his talent and guts that he can get away with it, but not his most endearing quality.
As for Rigoletto - the shame is not that he is singing the role; the shame (IMHO) is that an old tenor is the best Verdi baritone in the world today. Given a choice between Hvorotsovsky as Simon Boccanagera (at the MET this coming season) and Domingo, I personally would prefer Domingo. At least he can sing all the notes without cracking, going horribly out of tune, or wobbling (DH did all three when I heard him as Renato (Ballo) at the Met a couple of seasons ago. (Though in the right roles - Onegin, Yeletsky, Valentine - DH is a formidable artist).
Tim, do you select the "Captcha" words? I see mine are "stokowski relief"! LOL

Heck, I don't eve know from 'captcha' words. That's Greek to me.TIM

LOL! The Captcha words are the words we mere mortals must type to verify we are, in fact, mortals before we can post to your blog.

Ah, yes, mortals. I've heard tell of them. TIM

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About Tim Smith
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., I couldn't help but develop a keen interest in politics, but music, theater and visual art also proved great attractions. Music became my main focus after high school. I thought about being a cocktail pianist, but I hated taking requests, so I studied music history instead, earning a B.A. in that field from Eisenhower College (Seneca Falls, N.Y.) and an M.A. from Occidental College (Los Angeles). I then landed in journalism. After freelancing for the Washington Post and others, I was classical music critic for the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida, where I also contributed to NPR. I've written for the New York Times, BBC Music Magazine and other publications, and I'm a longtime contributor to Opera News. My book, The NPR Curious Listener's Guide to Classical Music (Perigee, 2002), can be found on the most discerning remainder racks.

I joined the Baltimore Sun as classical music critic in 2000 and, in 2009, also became theater critic, giving me the opportunity to annoy a whole new audience. In 2010, my original Clef Notes blog expanded to encompass a theatrical component -- how could I resist calling it Drama Queens? I hope you'll find both sides of this blog coin worth exploring and reacting to; your own comments are always welcome and valued (well, most of them, at least).

Think of this as your open-all-hours, cyber green room, where there's always a performer or performance to discuss, some news to digest, or maybe just a little good gossip to share.
Note: Tim Smith now writes about the fine arts at This blog will be kept in place as an archive for an indefinite period. Please visit the new location to get the latest Mid-Atlantic arts coverage.
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