Pre-Met Debut Domingo: His NYC Opera Years 1966--1969
Rudy Avila | Lennox, Ca United States | 11/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording is a fine memento of tenor Placido Domingo's first operatic performances in the US, as he was the principal tenor for the New York City Opera from '66 to '69 back when Julius Rudel was principal conductor and Beverly Sills its reigning soprano. Yes, these are live taped performances and as such the typical noises of applause and coughing pop up but any fan of Domingo, or Sills for that matter will eat it up. Roberto Devereux by Donizetti was the opera that earned Beverly Sills the cover of Time magazine in 1971. She performed the role of Queen Elisabeth and Placido Domingo sang Devereaux. Their on-stage chemistry was magnetic and their singing was unsurpassed. Here Domingo sings the Prison Scene. Domingo had sung Alfredo in previous Mexico City productions of Traviata but his first American Alfredo was with NY City Opera and here he sings with robust but elegant lyricism. He was singing Wagner this early in his career. Lohengrin was his firt Wagnerian opera and as the titular knight he sings gorgeously. Here we are treated to his "Das Sube Lied" with City Opera soprano Arlene Sanders singing a radiant Elsa. The most moving, absolutely the most inspiring "In Fernem Land" with its religious spark is pure gold in the hands of Domingo. Of course, Domingo excelled in all the juicy Italian tenor roles- Rodolfo in Boheme. His Che Gelida Manin is touching and poignant. His rendition of "Vesti La Giubba" from Pagliacci is a vocal homage to his idol Enrico Caruso and Domingo sings with stunning dramatic force. My favorite tracks are the excerpts from Massenet's Manon. Beverly Sills scored immense success singing Manon and here we see why. On a live recording, she pulls out all the stops and we see how she had the audience moved by her graceful but impassioned singing. Domingo was a supreme Des Grieux, and it is too bad he didn't sing the French-sung Des Grieux of Massenet's opera as much as he did the Italian-sung Des Grieux of Puccini's opera. The rest of the album covers scenes from Bizet's Carmen, with mezzo soprano diva Mignon Dunn as Carmen. Mignon Dunn was probably the sexiest looking Carmen but vocally there are things missing. She has the suitable voice but lacks subtleties and shades to the voice. However, it is still a fine Carmen, especially because Domingo is a superb Don Jose, a role he sang numerous times and was nearly a signature role for him. Domingo's Cavaradossi from Tosca is another signature role and here he sings E Lucevan La Stelle and the Act 1 Duet with aplomb. Enough said, folks.