The Lord of the Sea and the Wind :)

2012. január 20., péntek

Magyar változat

Plácido Domingo will turn 71 on the 21st of January. Last year, the whole world celebrated him, and a huge gala concert was organized in Madrid, his native town, for the occasion.
This year, on the night of his birthday, he will sing in the Metropolitan, in a recently staged opera called The Enchanted Island.
The opera is compiled from the works of Baroque composers, Haendel, Vivaldi, Rameau and others, the characters and the story line is taken from Shakespeare’s Tempest and Midsummer Night’s Dream: actually, it is a pastiche, an operatic genre popular in the 18th century. Plácido Domingo sings Neptune in it, in a monumental costume, mask and environment: he really looks like one’s idea of the God of the seas:

This reminds me of my experience that made me think that Domingo is also the master of the wind :)

It happened at an open-air concert, in the year 2008 in the town of Pécs — the first time for me to see and hear him in person. Around the end of Part One, just as Domingo came to the stage, the wind started to blow menacingly. It was an August night, after a long spell of extreme heat, with not a cloud on the sky, not a breeze felt for weeks. And yet, as Domingo started to sing a part of Wagner’s Die Walküre:

Winterstürme wichen
dem Wonnemond,

(in English: Wintry storms have vanished before Maytime), then, all of a sudden, a strong wind started to blow out of the blue. It was quite frightening, music sheets were flapping in the orchestra, the large molyneaux sheets in the background roared, and the large projector screens in the wings were losing their balance, one of the two toppled over. In the background, spectacular bolts of lightning lit up the sky as they should for a Romantic opera — although there was not a cloud seen in the sky. As it happened near the end of Part One, the audience started to worry about the concert to be cancelled when we only heard three arias from Domingo. After the part from Die Walküre, one of the guest performers, Rossana Potenza came on stage to sing Tosca’s prayer in a magnificent, golden evening dress. That was when the wind was the strongest. Next, Domingo took the baton from conductor Eugene Kohn, and he conducted the overture of La forza del destino; during Verdi’s enchanting melodies, the wind gradually subsided. The second part of the concert went uninterrupted, the weather even allowed countless encores and a lengthy ovation.

Despite common sense, I could not reject the idea that the gale was conjured up by Domingo himself by singing "Winterstürme", the Winter storm. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I cannot help feeling that Domingo’s exceptionally strong personality can somehow even command the wind...

Happy birthday, Maestro!

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