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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 20 October 2013
. . . but, let's face it, not great either. I can easily believe that, on the stage, with his well-developed histrionic gifts, Domingo can still be effective in the Verdi baritone roles, for the voice has still some warmth and beauty, but it has lost its distinctiveness and, under pressure, some of its firmness too. Perhaps it is remarkable singing for a man of 70+, but if we measure him against Cappuccilli or Bruson or Gobbi in their primes, then the limitations are apparent and the microphone is pretty merciless. The one unqualified success here, to my ears, is "Di Provenza il mar" -- beautifully voiced, and sung with an attention to dynamics that seems absent from the other selections, where the voice comes at you at never less than a pleasant mezzo-forte. I expected more particularly from the "Boccanegra" scene, but it's messy here, and the balancing doesn't help. Also, in general, too often the orchestra seems too recessed and the voice a bit too forward. It's far from a total disaster, but honestly, this program doesn't merit a CD to itself. Domingo was a wonderful tenor, and he has preserved his voice admirably, but this one is a bit sad.
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on 19 August 2013
Domingo announces this album as a tribute to Verdi and a very fine tribute it is too. But it is also a tribute to the artistry and musicianship of a truly great singer.
Some years ago, when Domingo issued a recording of Rossini's `Il barbiere' with himself singing the title role, I felt that he sounded not so much like a baritone as a tenor `taking it easy'. That is no longer the case. In recent years he has enjoyed huge success on stage as Simon Boccanegra and Rigoletto. I have seen the films and was impressed with his performance. With this disc, however, he moves firmly into the baritone arena and comes very close to making it his own.
The one slight drawback is that the voice no longer sounds youthful: that is hardly to be expected in a man of his age. Of course many of Verdi's baritone roles are for men of middle years or older. Rigoletto, Germont and Boccanegra fall naturally to him and his interpretation sounds perfect. The roles from `Un ballo', Il trovatore', `Don Carlo' and `Forza del destino' are for younger men, but Domingo's artistry and impeccable technique succeed in making his performance of their music sound perfectly natural.
The voice is completely baritonal in quality. We are told in the notes that Domingo became a student again in order to master these roles and his studies have clearly been productive. The lowest notes are full and resonant and the highest give us that frisson of delight we feel when we know that a singer is pushing his/her boundaries successfully.
It is not quite perfection: very occasionally the vibrato becomes a little heavy, though not to such a degree as to lessen one's enjoyment of the performance, and I personally should have valued a little more sweetness in the beautiful passage from `Eri tu' where Renato regrets his supposed loss of his wife's love. I should also have like the conductor, Pablo Heras-Casado, to push Verdi's pounding rhythms a little harder at times.
However, the overall effect of the disc is to prove beyond question Domingo's total mastery of his voice and his success in adapting to the effects of time and adding a new glory to an astonishing career. Listen to his performance of Rodrigo's music from `Don Carlo' and then, if you can, to his rendering of Don Carlo himself in Giulini's wonderful 1970 recording - both exquisite and forty-three years between - then you will have some idea of the stature of this artist. I can recommend this disc wholeheartedly in the knowledge that it will bring me many hours of enjoyment. No doubt in ten years' time this amazing man will produce his first disc of bass roles - I can't wait!
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on 29 August 2013
How many years of a great carreer has Domingo had? 30? 40? So, even if he hadn't had a carreer based on youth (such as the singer's one) even if he had been a civil servant, he would have gone into retirement by now. And here we are talking about a guy that has had a great carreer and made, justly, a fortune out of it. And what does he do? At the age of 70 he decides, after singing for many years past his prime and trying unsuccessfuly to conduct, to become a baritone. The question one has to consider is: How can a great artist be saved from ridicule? Surely, one does not have to die like Callas. One can always follow the example of the Great Tebaldi and RETIRE. Tebaldi retired at an age when still her voice was impressive and she never learnt even to spell the words "wobble" or "uncertain pitch". Here we deal with a case that is, quite frankly,if not ridiculous then terribly sad. Hear the "cortigiani..." for example. Hear it from Domingo, and then immediately play it with Gobbi, Milnes or ANY BARITONE. You will immediately know what I mean. This is not a baritone voice. This is a worn out dramatic tenor's voice. And I let aside the arias that are sung by a young hero. There the things are even worse because there is nothing youthful in Domingo's voice anymore. Well, there is not really much else to say. It happened to Luciano as well. It happened to Sutherland captured on film as a 60 year old Lucia (lol). And of course it happened to Caballe who at the age of 79 (!!!) was literally carried in front of a microphone at a concert in Athens only to show a speechless audience how an at one time great soprano could not hit ONE NOTE IN TUNE. Vanity? Avarice? I don't know...
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on 5 September 2013
Domingo's voice is worn out, and understandably so - he was singing internationally in the early 1960s. For all the blinkered plaudits his voice still sounds like an (aged) tenor singing a baritone aria, and worse, he is clearly struggling with the upper range (particularly in the "Cortigiani vil razza" aria). Yes, he still sings the line well and dramatically he's on the nail, but the quality, and weight of sound is not there. He is not a baritone.

Domingo had one of the most attractive tenor voices of the last century; I have reviewed some of his opera recordings favourably. So to end on a positive note, Domingo's "Aida", "Un Ballo in Maschera" and "Don Carlo" on EMI are some of the best recordings available, as is his "Carmen", "Trovatore" and "Otello" on DG - that's how I'd prefer to listen to him and remember him.
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on 2 February 2014
Very pleasant CD, Placido Domingo is fantastic as always, I recommend this CD for everyone who loves opera and this singer !
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on 3 April 2015
Was a little disappointed but it was great to hear done go as a baraton
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on 30 November 2014
Placi sings baritone arias well
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on 31 October 2013
I bought this for my parents, as they love classical music, and Verdi in particular. They were very pleased with it, they liked the pieces selected for the CD, and thought Placido Domingo's voice sounded wonderful.
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on 22 November 2013
The great Verdi tenor now turning to baritone roles. This man is just the best in both ranges and it's introduced me to some new arias
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on 29 September 2013
I have recently seen and heard Mr Domingo sing the lead, baritone, role in Verdi's Nabucco. It was a tremendous performance and, quite naturally I wanted to continue the experience of hearing one of the world's leading tenors sing the best of the baritone repertoire - it's a beautiful sound and one I shall never tire of hearing - more, please.
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