Opera News Cover Story: Plácido Domingo – Honoree of This Year’s Guild Luncheon

Issue Also Features Bellini’s Charming La Sonnambula, Newly-Staged by the Met in March

For an entire generation, the world of opera has listened and watched with unabated awe as Plácido Domingo (pictured) built a career unique in music history for its variety, breadth, and depth. With “Seasons of the Champion”, its 15th cover article devoted to the “tenorissimo”, the March issue of Opera News honors Domingo on his 40th anniversary at the Met, where he has given more performances than anywhere else in the world. Using previous cover stories to jog his formidable memory, Domingo shares thoughts about his first 40 years at the Met with the editor in chief of Opera News, F. Paul Driscoll, covering his wide-ranging repertoire, his conducting, his management of two opera companies, and much more.

Domingo’s unequalled career covers less than a third of the Metropolitan Opera’s gilded history, and Opera News gives a sneak-peek at plans for the 125th-Anniversary Gala on March 15. Continuing the historical theme, Opera News also looks at Vincenzo Bellini’s delightful La Sonnambula. As the Met prepares to unveil its eagerly-awaited new production, Steven Blier reflects on the difficulties involved in staging the Bellini masterpiece. The great coloratura soprano Marcella Sembrich introduced it to the Met in 1883, and in this month’s new production, Natalie Dessay will showcase her scintillating artistry alongside today’s great coloratura tenor, Peruvian Juan Diego Flórez. Peter G. Davis examines the show-stopping vocal fireworks the composer created for Amina, Sonnambula’s heroine, in the last quarter-hour of the opera.

With the new Sonnambula and a Met revival of Dvorák’s lovely Rusalka starring Renée Fleming, March seems to be a month of sopranos. But, as if to prove its even-handedness, Opera News presents mezzo-sopranos in the latest of its informative and entertaining Singers’ Roundtables. Author Fred Plotkin moderates a heady discussion, as Jane Bunnell, Theodora Hanslowe, Wendy White, and Maria Zifchak – four of opera’s most in-demand mezzos – get together for a good long chat.

The Metropolitan Opera Guild’s 74th Annual Luncheon at the Waldorf=Astoria, taking place on April 23, will salute Plácido Domingo for his 40th anniversary at the Met and benefit the Guild’s many educational programs. The largest and most popular Guild event of the year is entitled “¡Esplendido Plácido! – An Affectionate Tribute to Plácido Domingo”, and will fill the Waldorf= Astoria ’s vast ballroom. Powerhouse mezzo Dolora Zajick will sing, and spoken tributes will be made by five great Domingo colleagues: Martina Arroyo, Marilyn Horne, James Levine, Sherrill Milnes, and Samuel Ramey. There will be video surprises, and more than 30 other great Met artists will be on hand as well. Tickets are available through the Guild at (212) 769-7009.

The Metropolitan Opera Guild’s presentation of lectures in March is enriched by another interesting new three-part series – “Power and the Passion: Operatic Representations of Religion”, presented by Marie M. Ashdown on three consecutive Thursdays from March 19 to April 2. Ashdown demystifies opera’s religious leanings and demonstrates how religion and religiosity have always formed a rich part of the operatic tradition. Operas have found inspiration in stories from the Bible, in religious legend, in the battles between faiths, and in the individual’s search for salvation. Meanwhile, Fred Plotkin’s series, “Politics through the Opera Glass: Three Centuries of Composers, Conflicts, and Censorship”, which began on February 26, continues on March 5 and 12.

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