Placido Domingo
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Book excerpts



From Great Singers on Great Singing : A Famous Opera Star Interviews 40 Famous Opera Singers on the Technique of Singing by Jerome Hines (1982):


Placido Domingo on the influence of Enrico Caruso:

“I was most influenced by recordings of Caruso…that quality of sound…that incredible power of his voice…I used to hear a lot of his recordings…I could do a very bad imitation of him; I wasn’t trying to imitate Caruso, I was just trying to find out what he was doing. And one day, when I recorded, I still had great problems with high notes…I tried to imitate him…and suddenly I realized I could sing anything. So that day I went alone to the piano and I sang about twenty-five arias, because I realized it [Caruso’s method] was based on the old technique…[in] which they don’t waste any kind of breath singing.”


Domingo on proper breath support:

“Describe to me what you think when you take a breath,” I [Hines] said. “If a note is properly supported,” [Domingo] explained, “when you are singing, somebody might even be able to hit you” – he indicated the stomach area — “and that note is still there. I used to breathe like this…” He demonstrated by lifting his chest and shoulders high. “You cannot support, and many people sing that way. It should be deeper” – he gestured with his hands to show expansion, indicating filling his whole abdomen from the ribs on down – “everything expanding out.”





From Divo: Great Tenors, Baritones and Basses Discuss Their Roles by Helena Matheopoulos (1986):


Placido Domingo on making opera more popular:

“The people we have to conquer are the young, who don’t yet have any experience of opera. And I use the word ‘conquer’ because, despite the fact that opera houses all over the world are full, from the social point of view opera is still a somewhat ‘elitist’ art form. What we must do, what I’m trying to do, is reach many, many more people than the two thousand or so who fill each of the world’s opera houses nightly, and bring today’s social revolution to opera. To succeed, though, we must strive for the same level of dramatic credibility they are used to in the rest of the media.”


Domingo on the need for musical understanding in opera singers:

“Being a singer is not enough! In order to serve the composers properly, you have to be a musician as well. Because to really sing, you have to delve into a score deeply and meticulously and seek to unravel all the secrets it contains, all the little things behind the notes and between the lines. For example, whenever there is a change of key, usually there is also a change of mood – from bliss to wistfulness or whatever – and you should modulate your voice accordingly, even though the audience may often be unaware of you doing it.”