Placido Domingo set to perform Verdi’s m masterpiece Macbeth
Hailed as “the king of opera” globally, Placido Domingo has given more than 3,800 performances of 147 roles, in addition to having conducted more than 500 performances and made hundreds of audio and video recordings and films over the past 50 years.
And, at 75, he shows no sign of slowing down.
He arrived in Beijing at 4 am on Sept 2, after inaugurating the world’s newest opera house— Dubai Opera— with a gala concert on Aug 31.
On Sept 7 and 10, Domingo will return to Giuseppe Verdi’s masterpiece, Macbeth, based on William Shakespeare’s play, which was first performed in 1847.
The show will be staged at Beijing’s National Center for the Performing Arts.
Conducted by the Israeli conductor, Daniel Oren, and directed by Hugo de Ana, the production will star Domingo in the title role, along with Chinese soprano Sun Xiuwei as Lady Macbeth, Tian Haojiang as Banco and Wang Chong as Macduff.
Later in September and in October, Domingo will be at the Los Angeles Opera, where he has been the general director since 2003, and at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna to do the same role.
“I like working with different companies and directors. And Macbeth is one of the most classic operas. It’s the connection between Verdi and Shakespeare that makes the opera a phenomenon,” says Domingo.
He played Macbeth for the first time in 2015 at the Berlin State Opera.
“The role is quite new to me. It offers all kinds of challenges and excitement,” he says.
Macbeth, as Domingo describes him, is “a killer, a murderer and also a victim, who is lost, and who has committed a crime because of the persuasion of Lady Macbeth.
“Macbeth is Verdi’s first opera based on William Shakespeare’s play, and it is special. Compared with Shakespeare’s original work, Verdi’s version is much clearer,” says Domingo.
“For the singers, it’s very challenging to interpret roles like Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and the Witches because Verdi’s compositions require the singers to strike a balance between technique and emotion. For me, as Macbeth, I have to sing with greed, complication and fear.”
According to the NCPA’sproduction director Wei Lanfen, this is the fourth time the maestro is working with the company.
In 2012, Operalia, an annual international voice competition, which was founded by Domingo in 1993 as a platform to help launch the careers of many of today’s opera stars, held its 20th edition at the NCPA in Beijing.
Then, among the winners were Chinese soprano Sun Xiuwei and mezzo-soprano Yang Guang, who had collaborated with Domingo, when he made his opera debut at the NCPA in 2013, taking the lead role in NCPA’s production of Verdi’s opera Nabucco.
In August 2015, he returned as the lead role in NCPA’s production of Verdi’s opera, Simon Boccanegra.
Speaking about the NCPA, Domingo says: “I am impressed by the progress of NCPA. As a young company, it has produced over 50 operas during the past nine years of its existence. I believe that there will be 100 opera productions done by the time the NCPA celebrates its 20th anniversary,” he says.
In an earlier interview, Oren, who will lead the NCPA orchestra and chorus in Macbeth, describes Domingo as “a miracle” who is capable of mastering different roles as a singer and conductor.
Talking about his interests now, Domingo, who has switched to baritone roles in the past few years, says: “I have the passion for my job and the support frommy family, who love what I do. People ask about retirement and I say I don’t know when.”
Born in Madrid, Domingo, who moved to Mexico with his family when he was 8, says he is a crossover artist when compared with his parents who were zarzuela (Spanish musical theater) performers and had their own theater.
“I grew up in my parents’ company by watching how hard they worked and how they treated each person in the company,” he says.
“I learned that each one in the company is important, and helps the company function like a huge machine. I also learned that I am just a normal person offstage, but when I am onstage I make people forget Placido Domingo. Then, I am just Macbeth or any role I am playing.”
Domingo will play two of the five NCPA shows, and Russian baritone Sergey Murzaev will feature Macbeth in the other three performances.
The National Center for the Performing Arts’ production of Macbeth stars Domingo in the title role with Chinese soprano Sun Xiuwei as Lady Macbeth.