PLACIDO DOMINGO'S TALES FROM THE OPERA by Daniel Snowman

PLACIDO DOMINGO'S TALES FROM THE OPERA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Loving liner notes to accompany the BBC/PBS series hosted by the affable tenor. Snowman (The World of Plcido Domingo, 1985, etc.) followed a TV crew as it traced a ""year in the life"" of Plcido Domingo, traveling from Vienna, where he appeared as Siegmund in Die Walk(infinity)re; to Hollywood, where as artistic consultant to the Los Angeles Opera he directed their production of La Boh≤me; to New York's Metropolitan Opera for the lead role in Otello; and finally to Bonn, for a collaboration with film director Werner Herzog on a production of a modern Brazilian opera. When Snowman grandly proclaims that the TV series is ""a project unprecedented in the annals of film or television,"" one realizes that puffery will outweigh profundity throughout this expedition. When he isn't marveling over the ""ferocious schedule"" that the superstar tenor keeps, he is praising Domingo's ""uncommon fusion of physique, vocal quality, and musical intelligence."" Through the four chapters of this brief valentine, Snowman combines a little operatic history, a little sight-seeing, and an occasional backstage glimpse; but he hardly provides the revelations about the operatic world that his overheated prose seems to promise. Snowman's analysis of Domingo's performing and conducting skills is, not surprisingly, hardly profound. There is no critic that Snowman can find who has a bad word to say about the tenor; no audience that is not ""adoring""; no peer who is not ""amazed"" by the ""incredible"" sympathy the singer shows. But when Domingo has an adolescent fit because the record company of his main competition on the operatic stage, Luciano Pavarotti, chose to advertise its client's recordings in his program booklet, one wonders whether this ""colossus"" is as generous as Snowman would have us believe. Flattery, apparently, will get you somewhere.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1995
Page count: 188pp
Publisher: Amadeus/Timber