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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

‘Voice is like the most jealous woman in the world’ 

We’ll have to end the concert by 10 pm,” says conductor Zubin Mehta, “Apparently, there is supposed to be no noise after 10 and, these days, we’re classified as noise.

Written by Poojapillai | Mumbai | October 10, 2008 11:54:21 pm

World famous tenor Placido Domingo, set to perform at Brabourne as part of Mehli Mehta Centenary Concert series, says he’s nervous about it

We’ll have to end the concert by 10 pm,” says conductor Zubin Mehta, “Apparently, there is supposed to be no noise after 10 and, these days, we’re classified as noise. But there is no more beautiful noise than Placido Domingo.”

The renowned tenor himself demurs and adds to the joke, “We’ll just have to sing faster, if we want to cover the whole programme.”

Domingo is set to perform at the Brabourne Stadium, Churchgate, as part of the Mehli Mehta Centenary Concert series on October 11 and the handsome tenor, is visibly excited. “It is a great feeling to be here in Mumbai, though this is my first time in India.”

Domingo, 67, speaks of his connection with the Mehta family and how honoured he is to be performing at the concert for them. “I didn’t hesitate when Zubin asked me to come,” he says. “Many people may have heard my records, but this is the first time people in India will be hearing me live. So I am a little nervous about it,” he says with disarming modesty.

Domingo, a multiple Grammy winning singer and conductor, has even greater recognition outside of the world of opera. He is one of the famous The Three Tenors, along with Jose Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti, and has performed at several FIFA World Cups and even the recent Beijing Olympics. He has lent the drama and passion in his range to the most famous compositions by Verdi (Otello, La Traviata), Puccini (Tosca, Madama Butterfly), Wagner (Parsifal) and Tchaikovsky (Eugene Onegin), among scores of others.

Mehta is all praise for his long-time colleague and friend for his ability to juggle many roles. “Not many people are aware that Placido is not just a singer and conductor. He’s also the music director and the guiding spirit of two opera companies in America. I don’t know how he does it. He’s also one of the few Latin singers to perform Tchaikovsky’s operas in Russian, and that too very fluently.”

Domingo says he finds singing to be most challenging. “When I’m conducting, I’m more relaxed because I know I have to lead everybody. But while singing I’m always trembling. The voice is like the most jealous woman in the world. You have to take care of her, pamper her. Every morning I wake up and I ask myself, is my voice still there?”

Domingo is more reticent while talking about his favourite performance to date. “It is so difficult to say. I’ve had close to 3,500 performances and there have been so many special evenings,” he says. “Emotionally, you change over time. So what’s happening today feels more special.”

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