Placido Domingo
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Anecdotes



[Interviewer:] Is there one performance you think of as the most memorable of your career so far?

[Domingo:] To speak of the most memorable performance in my career is impossible. But, the one I always remember with amusement is my first performance at the Met. Four days before my scheduled debut as Maurizio in Adriana Lecouvreur, I was called to substitute for Franco Corelli. I had rehearsed Calaf in Turandot all day and had driven home to Teaneck, New Jersey, when the phone rang. It was Rudolf Bing, the Met's General Manager, inquiring how I felt. “Fine,” I said, to which he replied, “In that case you won't mind coming to the opera house immediately and making an unscheduled debut.”

As I was driving down Broadway I was testing my voice. I happened to have the windows open because it was a sultry late- September evening. At a stop light, I noticed the people in the next car laughing at me. I leaned out the window and asked, “Where are you going?” “To the Met,” they replied. “Don't laugh,” I said. “Because in a very short while you will be hearing me!”

M Lifestyle, The King of Opera, Francis Patrick Carty
Volume 3 · Issue 2 (published April 2005)





“Having recorded La Traviata early in her career, before her collaboration with Carlo Maria Giulini at La Scala rendered her the Violetta of the age, Callas wanted the chance to redo the part, in stereo, with a more impressive cast. Plácido Domingo, just coming into prominence, was suggested as Alfredo, and the two were introduced.

“Speaking of opera, Callas tensely remarked that she was losing interest in the stage because there were no satisfactory conductors. Or directors. Or singers.

“’Thank you, Maria,’ said Domingo, laughing.”

Opera Anecdotes, Ethan Mordden, p. 204




“A PR agent, noting Plácido Domingo’s bent for conducting, suggested filming the tenor leading an orchestra in choice arias, then running the movie in Carnegie Hall while Domingo filled in the melodies. Domingo conducts Domingo!

“’But if I make a mess of the concert,’ Domingo pointed out, ‘I won’t be able to blame the conductor.’”

Opera Anecdotes, Ethan Mordden, p. 213-4




“Off-stage he is also known as a wit. After the catch had come loose on his foam-rubber old-man mask before the transformation scene in "Faust," he remarked, "I was almost young before my time."

'You're Singing Too Much' ... 'The More I Sing, the Better I Sound'
Gerald Walker, The New York Times, 27th February 1972





James Levine, the Met's 28 year old principal conductor, complimented Domingo after a "Tosca," saying, "Placido, you have the brain of a conductor." Domingo smiled into his dressing room mirror and replied, "It's a good thing you don't have the mind of a tenor."

'You're Singing Too Much' ... 'The More I Sing, the Better I Sound'
Gerald Walker, The New York Times, 27th February 1972






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