With Placido Domingo ill, Salsi plays two roles

The China Post - - ARTS - BY RON­ALD BLUM

Luca Salsi was tak­ing a walk with his wife on Man­hat­tan’s Up­per West Side, when he got a call from Al­varo Domingo, son of the fa­mous singer.

“Daddy doesn’t feel very well,” Salsi re­mem­bered hear­ing.

Salsi had 30 min­utes to make the nine-block trip to the Metropoli­tan Opera, get in cos­tume and re­place Placido Domingo as Don Carlo in Satur­day’s per­for­mance of Verdi’s “Er­nani,” which was broad­cast on ra­dio around the world.

Salsi al­ready was sched­uled to be on the Met stage that night to sing En­rico in Donizetti’s “Lu­cia di Lam­mer­moor.” He had a quick tele­phone chat with Met mu­sic direc­tor James Levine, whom he had never met, got in cos­tume and went on stage in time for Don Carlo’s firstact en­trance.

The 40-year-old bari­tone from Parma, Italy, had no chance to re­view the score. “Bet­ter like this be­cause I didn’t have the time to think and be ner­vous,” he said Sun­day. “Just go and sing.”

Met gen­eral manager Peter Gelb had called Salsi on Fri­day night, say­ing Domingo was fight­ing a cold. But the Met no­ti­fied Salsi on Satur­day morn­ing he wouldn’t be needed.

Then Domingo ar­rived at the house and felt he could not go on.

Salsi had last sung the role in Rome in De­cem­ber 2013 with con­duc­tor Ric­cardo Muti.

“When you do some­thing with mae­stro Muti, af­ter you will re­mem­ber very well the score,” Salsi said.

Domingo stood in the wings dur­ing the per­for­mance to en­cour­age him. Salsi had never been on the set be­fore. “I had to im­pro­vise ev­ery­thing,” he said.

He smiled widely dur­ing the cur­tain calls as flow­ers were thrown from the au­di­ence at the cast, which also in­cluded Francesco Meli in the ti­tle role, An­gela Meade as Elvira and Dmitry Belos­sel­skiy as Don Ruy Gomez de Silva.

AP

In this March photo pro­vided by the Metropoli­tan Opera, Luca Salsi per­forms in the role of En­rico in Donizetti’s “Lu­cia di Lam­mer­moor” dur­ing a dress re­hearsal at the Metropoli­tan Opera in New York.

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