Each week, the crew from Saturday Afternoon at the Opera chooses a hot new opera release that you need to know about. Here's your opera spotlight for May 18, 2013.
It's a big year for Verdi fans, and the record companies are cashing in on the composer's 200th birthday. It's easy enough to plunder the rich catalogues of labels like Deutsche Grammophon to come up with some real bon-bons, and this week's opera spotlight is a rich 2-CD set of Verdi hits from one of the legendary tenors of our time, Placido Domingo.
Born in Spain, and raised in Mexico, Placido Domingo quickly burst onto the operatic scene, making his Metropolitan Opera debut in 1968 when he was 27 years old. Some 45 years later, he's still belting it out at the Met (albeit more often now as a baritone) and he's as big a name as any in the opera world.
This compendium of Verdi hits is a celebration of this tremendous legacy and Domingo's long and singing career.
They are all highlights for sure, but it's interesting to hear him singing operas that have been in his repertoire for decades. For instance, La Traviata and the role of Alfredo. He first sang this part in 1961; it was his first major role.
In his book, Domingo, My Operatic Roles, he writes about the Act 1 duet, "Un di felice": "You can barely hear the orchestra because of all those pizzicati and you have to be really careful to ensure that your intonation is perfect. But in this duet I would say that 75 per cent of the time one of the two, either the tenor or the soprano, is either sharp or flat."
listen"Un di felice" from La Traviata
Placido Domingo and Sondra Radvanovsky in concert in Toronto in 2011
TSO with Sondra Radvanovsky
Opera spotlight: Christian Gerhaher sings Romantic opera arias