Certainly not ALLL the Essential Domingo
Drewry F. Wofford III | Raleigh, NC USA | 01/03/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I grew up with Placido Domingo. Not in the sense of being boyhood friends, but rather in the sense that he was part of my "Golden Age" at the Metropolitan Opera. Of the "Three Tenors" (more Marketing hype than useful grouping of three fine singers) Domingo was the most dramatic - the "heaviest" of the three. His repertoire extended well beyond the lyric - and that's why this collection is not all the "essential" Domingo, but rather offers an interesting look at the lighter, more lyric side of Placido Domingo. You won't find Lohengrin or Otello here, but you will find many of the more lyric tenor arias from Verdi, Puccini and Donizetti - to name a few.
There is an "edge" to Domingo's voice that perhaps accounts for his ability to transition successfully into the heavier repertory. I find that tonal quality particularly noticeable in this collection - and sometimes too pronounced. On the other hand, there are a few wonderful surprises. His "Una furtiva lagrima" from L'elisir d'amore is a stand out. Its rare you here a tenor with this much power sing the role. The duet "Bima dagli occhi" from Madama Butterfly with Renata Scotto, again casts Pinkerton with a quality tenor not often found in the opera house any more. I loved the selection from Gianni Schicchi - when is the last time you found Rinuccio cast with this size tenor voice - and the Italian tenor's aria from Rosenkavalier is a treasure from a recording currently out of print. And then there is one of Domingo's signature roles - Jack Rance in Puccini's La Fanciulla del West. No one sings Rance better than Domingo - and the excerpt from the complete recording finds Domingo at his very best.
Disk two is devoted to song - popular and classical. There is a fair amount of tripe - too much cross over (as in who needs to hear Domingo sing "The Impossible Dream" from Man of La Mancha - Broadway is not Mr. Domingo's genre). But there are some wonderful cuts as well - "Granada" is a Domingo encore specialty, and I was particularly struck by the song "In Pace" from the motion picture Hamlet - I never saw the film and was truly taken aback at how beautiful a song this is, and Domingo's voice soars.
I found the sound of these CD's a bit "tinny". Perhaps its the analogue to digital conversion, but I was disappointed in the overall sound. The album is badly mistitled "The Essential Placido Domingo". Certainly this is some of the essential Domingo - and some very wonderful examples of the lyric Domingo - but there is clearly a volume two to come - the dramatic Placido Domingo. But why wait - buy this fine collection, and then feast on some of the complete recordings such as Otello or Lohengrin."
Great for what it is
Tim Steains | Sydney AUS | 01/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I agree with the previous poster that this does not contain his great dramatic stuff like otello/wagner, but the collection is a beautiful one. There are some great recordings here, and his crossover stuff(maria, Dulcinea, impossible dream) is very interesting. His opera is of course impecable and brilliant. Finally we get to hear Domingo's high C in Di Quella Pira, and its a good one. The zarzuela or spanish operetta type songs and are wonderful.
I found this to be beautiful and exhilirating to listen to."
Solid, comfortable, familiar -- very good!
OperaOnline.us | Boston, MA | 01/01/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Why wait to see if this reviewer enjoyed Sony's latest offering: I did, and so will you. Hats off to Sony for getting it right with this two CD, 34-song bonanza of Placido Domingo singing -- well, as the name implies -- the essentials, from opera to Broadway to Hollywood, in a mix that keeps its distance while holding it all together in a package that breeds enough familiarity to make even the most harsh tenor critic purr. The more clasical offerings are on the first CD and the more sentimental are on disc two. Interestingly, I found side two more seductive and subdued in tone, and enjoyed listening to Mr. Domingo's interpretation of such popular favorites as "Maria" from "West Side Story", "Dulcinea" from "Man From LaMancha" and a couple duets with John Denver (Perhaps Love) and Maureen McGovern (A Love Without End). The songs selected for side two actually did set a thematic tone. Readers of my reviews know that I place a high value on a CDs overall ability to present what is offered in a bundle that sets and keeps a mood. I usually ask two questions: is it consistent once the mood is set; and does it keep the listener in that mood throughout once established? Here, well, here, I break from tradition and profess some confusion. The mood on disc one is not thematic but ecclectic -- from solo's to duets, from live recordings to studio, from one orchestra to the next, from upbeat to mellow. Technically, while there is some difference in the overall sound quality while switching from one setting to another, it is something you would have to listen for to catch, and becaue of this doesn't amount to a serious flaw as presented. What saves disc one from my usual "tenor blahs" is Mr. Domingo's exceptional voice and the selection of songs chosen -- which, while altering between one mood and another, are all familiar enough that we listen with knowing ease to what we expect. This isn't the kind of CD you put on while holding a conversation with anyone, but rather one you would put on, close your eyes and listen to for its sheer technical achievement -- or more precisely for Mr. Domingo's talent. The voice is clear and strong and passinate and reflects Mr. Domingo's control of his range and interpretive skills. Listen to Verdi's "Ingemisco" with The London Symphony and Leonard Bernstein; Puccini's "Bimba Dagli Occhi" with Renata Scoto (he sings a couple meodies with Scoto) and Umberto Giordino's "Amor ti Vieta" from Fedora to get an idea of what I am referring to here. It took me a couple sessions with each side to settle down and appreciate what was offered. Hopefully this review will get you ready and you will enjoy it from the start. PJW"