Monday, August 31, 2015

Tenor Plácido Domingo Thrills Chinese Audiences In Macau

A Tenor For All Time: Plácido Domingo performing in Macau, China, at age 74.
"Music keeps a man’s soul passionate and ageless, as evinced by tenor-baritone Placido Domingo, now well into his seventies. At an age where others are retiring, the opera Renaissance man continues to take to the stage around the globe, showing no signs of slowing down. Coming to Macau for the first time, the opera master was in admiration of the city’s 'phenomenal” growth and its early tradition of Western opera. In turn, he surprised a fully packed auditorium at the Macau Cultural Centre with a Chinese poem-song paying tribute to the city’s colonial history at the end of the concert staged Saturday evening. 'Certainly opera is our life, wherever I go, I enjoy very much to do [perform] concerts,' he told media before a rehearsal for Saturday’s concert. 'After singing for so, so, so many years, I think probably nobody in this hall was born before I started singing. You can imagine how many years I have been singing, but for me, it’s very important and exciting, really, to sing in a place for the first time.' 'I think the public has the
right to discover you, it doesn’t matter if they have listened to recordings, they have seen you on television, or even they have travelled and hear you in all the theaters. But here, many people are going to hear me for the very first time probably, the most important thing is to be in really good shape [to sing], and to feel this kind of connection,' he added. Striving to 'make the public leave the hall [feeling] very, very happy,' the virtuoso said they arranged the program with a varied array of opera genres so that everybody coming could enjoy it. 'We are opera singers, so we sing opera, arias and duets, and after we sing musical songs from different Broadway shows, then we have the operetta and the Spanish zarzuela genres, and we finish with songs, so that the public can enjoy it at different gamut from A to Z,' he introduced. From a young dreamer challenging the world in Man of La Mancha, to a father confronting his son’s lover in La Traviata, from a villainous nobleman who mastered a tragedy in II Trovatore, to an expatriate encountering his love during war time in South Pacific, the tenor-baritone presented a number of opera and musical hits in collaboration with sopranos Virginia Tola and Micaela Oeste, who were selected from prestigious young artists programs. 'They teach me so much also, because I have to be at their level when I’m there. Youth is something that you have to respect, and I do,' said Domingo. 'When I started singing, I was so young, I was singing with some sopranos that could be my grandmothers. (…) And now guess what, I’m singing with my daughters; but don’t be surprised, because sometime I’ve been singing with my granddaughters,' he laughed, adding that working with young people allows him to 'pass something generation to generation.' 'Of course [when] the day [comes] that I won’t sing anymore, I would be able to use more time [to teach them] if I can. This is my life,' he noted. As many considered themselves fortunate to be present at the much-anticipated concert, the performance – in collaboration with the Macau Orchestra – was warmly received by the local audience. Not only did he dance a little waltz when performing a duet from Die Lustige Witwe [The Merry Widdow], the Spanish tenor pointed the microphone to the audience when leading a Mexican folk song called 'Besame Mucho [Kiss Me Much].' 'We have done concerts [at a venue] for 12, 15 thousand [people], but you want to make the public feel that they are with you, and we try to give everything, from if we are in good shape, and
High Rollers: The casino nightlife in Macau has created a skyline that surpasses Las Vegas.
certainly everything we have in our soul. Because you sing with your soul and the public has to feel it,' he stressed. But none could’ve expected that when children from the Macau Youth Choir joined the stage the opera stars would sing the 'Song of the Seven Sons – Macau' in Mandarin, a poem written by Wen Yiduo in 1925 in a time of suffering for the incomplete nation. 'I was invited to come here when Macau returned back to China. I was not able to come because I was not free. Since then I resented it, because that was a very special occasion to be here, singing to the public here on such a significant date,' he said, adding that the city’s dazzling lights today 'have surpassed Las Vegas' in his eyes. 'We congratulate you for this phenomenal city,' he added. The tenor first entered the homes of the general public in China during the late 1980s, when he and Jose Carreras and the late Luciano Pavarotti performed as the Three Tenors, amazing the oriental world. Today, the tenor recognized that not only popular, traditional operas, but also modern opera productions, are 'arriving to the soul and to the heart of Chinese people.' 'I remember 27 years ago I made my debut in China, I was singing at the People’s Hall a complete program of Spanish zarzuela; and this evening was televised all across China by CCTV. (…) It was one of the first times that they listen[ed] to this kind of music and they were so thrilled,' he recalled. 'It is only eight years since they built the NCPA [National Centre for the Performing Arts] in Beijing and they have done 52 productions – 42 of international operas, Verdi, Puccini, Mozart, Wagner, Bizet, (…) and ten operas written for Chinese composers. So the work is really extraordinary,' he acknowledged, adding that 'in the last years, there’s an extraordinary amount of Chinese singers in international theaters around the world; it is no doubt there is extraordinary talent there.' 'If you are in Munich, Berlin, Vienna, or you are in Zurich, the public has seen in the last thirty years maybe three different productions of Tosca. (…) This is logical for countries and theaters that have opera traditions for two centuries. But for a theater that has only worked for eight years, you have to use traditional productions, and this is wonderful because the Chinese public is getting the real thing. I hope in Macau – where you are growing in such an extraordinary way – one day can really have opera, at somewhere like the Dom Pedro [Theater], but a little bigger,' he suggested." [Source]

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