Time Out talks to conductor and composer, Placido Domingo is performing in the Gulf this month
Time Out Bahrain staff
Placido Domingo’s motto is ‘to rest is to rust’, and even a health scare earlier this year hasn’t gotten him to take it easy even for a minute. In between opera performances, he runs opera companies in Los Angeles and Washington, hosts the Operalia international vocal competition in Spain, conducts in LA and at New York’s Metropolitan Opera (and elsewhere), and has still managed to fit in time to accompany a performance of Antologia de la Zarzuela at The Pearl Qatar in Doha on May 13. We caught up with the world’s greatest tenor to talk all things opera and find out about his plans to open a restaurant in the region.
You are a very busy man and your mantra, ‘to rest is to rust’, is certainly evident, but how do you manage to cram everything in? I have been living this way all my life. I love my occasional, brief vacation periods in Mexico, but all of my projects and all of my work give me back even more energy than I put into them.
There has been a great deal of concern and speculation surrounding your recent surgery – are you fully recovered now? Apart from some normal, and very minor, post-operative discomfort, I feel absolutely fine. The operation was a complete success and there was no need for any sort of secondary therapy.
You have been inundated with get well soon wishes from all over the world, it must feel quite special to have that sort of effect on so many people. You know, we performers put a lot into what we do every time that we stand before the public, so it is very gratifying to know that we have touched others by what we do. And I am very grateful to all of the people who wished me well.
The ’90s was the commercial heyday for the Three Tenors – do you miss that? How is life now compared to then? I am proud of what we did with the Three Tenors – as I have said many times, I think that it made opera lovers of many people who had never before had an introduction to opera. But, of course, it was an initiative that couldn’t go on forever, even when Pavarotti was still alive. And my life now is just as busy, if not more so, and just as fulfilling as it was then.
You have been performing for so many years. How has your voice changed over time? I am extremely lucky to be able to sing after more than 50 years in this career. Like most other voices, mine has darkened over time. In my youth I sang Mozart roles like Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni and Ferrando in Così fan tutte, but it would be ridiculous for me to try to sing them now – just as it would have been ridiculous for me to try to sing Wagner roles like Siegmund or Parsifal then.
You have said that you still feel like you are at the start of your career. Is youth important to an opera singer? There is no question that one’s voice is fresher when one is young than in later years, but if you are interested in achieving artistic depth, you must always feel that you are just starting, no matter how young or old you are. The minute you feel you have accomplished the maximum, you are finished, artistically.
Will you ever retire? Why would I want to retire? I love what I do. Of course the day will come when I will have to stop singing – Mother Nature will take care of that – but I hope that I’ll still be able to conduct. I’m very lucky to have been given some talents, and it is my responsibility to keep using them.