Placido Domingo and the reasons for a decline: sexual harassment, missing voice, inability to say enough

Placido Domingo and the reasons for a decline: sexual harassment, missing voice, inability to say enough

from Giuseppina Manin

The tenor returning from a fiasco at the Verona Arena would have more reasons to retire

Two evenings to forget. Better, never to be repeated. Expected at the Verona Arena to sing in a Verdi gala and to conduct an opera, Turandot, Placido Domingo entered the Roman amphitheater as a legend of opera and emerged as a shattered myth. Preceded by accusations of an alleged involvement of him in an Argentine sect that provided substantial compensation for sex slaves, Domingo did not hold back. Defying the controversy, the requests for cancellation, the heat, the ailments of his 80 and more years (how many exactly remains a mystery) he wanted to honor his commitment with the theater where he has been at home for over half a century, where he had triumphed with Don Carlo, Turandot, Manon Lescaut.

But this time it was enough for him to appearand in the limelight to understand that the lion of the past was no longer there. In place of him an elderly man unsteady, in need of support, with a slightly disorientated air. A fragility also reflected in his voice. His wonderful voice of him, dazzling for decades as a tenor then able to reinvent himself in the burnished tones of the baritone, has lost its enamel. Vocal cracks aggravated by memory lapses, despite the presence of an all too audible prompter and two support “hunchbacks”. And so, halfway through the concert, after arias from Aida and Don Carlo, having arrived at the toast of Macbeth, Placido had to throw in the towel. He was replaced by the Russian Roman Burdenko, already ready in the wings duly made up and in costume as proof that the forfeit was expected.

It won’t get better the next night, Friday, when in his other role as conductor, Domingo stepped on the podium of Turandot. A work in itself impervious, hardly sustainable for the master, who had foreseen only one test to keep up with his frenetic booklet. The outcome was so disappointing that in the end the orchestras, invited by the conductor to stand up for the usual thanks, remained stubbornly seated in protest. In short, a double debacle. Embarrassing for the Arena but even more so for an artist who was truly a champion and would have deserved a more decent exit. The shock was such that yesterday the representatives of SIC, the CGIL Verona Communication Workers Union, sent a note in which they asked the Arena Foundation and its president, Mayor Damiano Tommasi, to cancel the Domingo gala already scheduled for next season or at least reduce it to a career “tribute” from friendly artists.

Aging well is always difficult. It is even more difficult to understand when it is time to say enough. Domingo’s extraordinary longevity does not seem to bring him any advice: at the age of 80 he continues to follow the rhythms of forty. Just look at his calendar, which in September takes him in 15 days from Seville to Muscat, in Oman, and also in Turkey. And then from Hamburg to Budapest, from Bolivia to Paraguay. From Belgium to Croatia Dubai… Hours and hours by plane, time zones, jet lag, faced recklessly. Perhaps in the name of fame, perhaps of the box office, perhaps of faith in eternal life, at least on the stage. “If I rest, I rust “, if I stop I rust. His mantra, his condemnation. Wiser the motto of one of his famous colleagues, Giulietta Simionato: “Better to be regretted than to be pitied.”

August 30, 2022 (change August 30, 2022 | 18:55)

#Placido #Domingo #reasons #decline #sexual #harassment #missing #voice #inability

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.