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Placido Domingo set to per­form Verdi’s m master­piece Mac­beth

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - Con­tact the writer at chen­nan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.

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