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September 29, 2010

How to say goodbye: some farewells from Placido Domingo

This week's news that Placido Domingo will wind up his tenure as general director of Washington National Opera at the end of this season took some folks by surprise, inside and outside the organization. It will be, as they say, the end of an era.

Domingo will have had 15 seasons with the company, a period that saw considerable growth and, OK, some frustration, too. All in all, though, I still think it's been a pretty good run. (People who loudly carp about this performance or that production in Washington seem to forget that every night isn't exactly a winner at the Met, either.) Domingo brought a certain excitement and class to WNO, even if his over-extended life -- two opera companies to run, any number of operas to sing and/or conduct all over the world -- meant that DC sometimes felt slighted in one way or another.

Domingo's last day has officially been announced as June 30, 2011, which gives folks plenty of time to adjust to the fact that he'll be saying "addio." And, boy, does this guy know how to bid farewell, as you can hear in these vintage gems from his glory-filled career:

Posted by Tim Smith at 6:42 AM | | Comments (0)

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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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