Plácido Domingo’s life motto is “If I rest, I rust.” He is a man of enormous strength and energy, and a musician blessed with extraordinary talent and charisma. As the Artistic Director of The Washington Opera and the General Director of the Los Angeles Opera, he is a driving force in the opera world. This recording is a compilation of some of the many songs that Plácido Domingo has performed over the course of his extremely successful career. He is accompanied by several world-class orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, with renowned conductors like Zubin Mehta, James Levine, and Lorin Maazel. In other words, this is designed to be a first-class recording; and it certainly lives up to that.
This recording is all about pride, humanity, passion, and love. Plácido Domingo loves music and he loves soccer. He describes the relationship between these two things in this way: “Music, like sports, has no one language. They both represent a universal approach to the passions we all share bringing us all together a little closer. It is a communal moment where the greater good of all people preside over the particular person.” Domingo has managed to join his two loves through his series of performances at World Cup Soccer matches around the world. He has been an ambassador for the power of both music and sports for many to see and emulate. Domingo says that the World Cup soccer matches give countries “…a chance to celebrate their pride in country and home. They rejoice by singing their anthems or other songs of triumph, glory, love, and passion.” The selections on this CD display these emotions, and Domingo demonstrates why the music world continues to embrace him as the consummate artist he is.
Although I have heard many soloists sing “Nessun Dorma!”, I am moved by his performance on this disc and discover new levels of feeling in this piece, new shades of emotional color that penetrate my consciousness as I listen. “La Donna E Mobile” is perhaps the most used (and abused) tenor solo I know; but it becomes a refreshing experience for me as I listen to a true artist perform it. Here is a musician who lives his music; and he awakens the listener to new dimensions of understanding. This can only be achieved by a performer who has complete mastery of every aspect of these songs, and the ability to link his soul with the minds of the composers of these famous and familiar pieces. The universal feelings I got from this recording are warmth and pride, in the music, the emotions of each song, and the universality of expression that transcends the apparent differences in style or period. Even when Domingo was singing a pop song like “Perhaps Love” (which he recorded with the late John Denver), the same level of commitment was still there. Since I loved John Denver and his music, I am honored when a “serious” musician does it justice. Through the performances on this disc, Domingo is able to share his musical triumphs with listeners who might not be lucky enough to see him on the stage.
The sound on this compilation is excellent, as I would expect from this label. This is a welcome addition for any collector of Domingo’s work, or anyone else who would like to hear first-rate performances. This particular set of selections is particularly fitting to Domingo’s still magnificent tenor voice. He obviously felt strongly about the selections, for he said, “Although sung in many different languages, all transcend traditional boundaries by reaching into the human soul.” I have been privileged to meet Plácido Domingo, and can attest to the fact that he means every word.
Tracklist: Willkommen Bei Uns (short version), Nessun Dorma! (from Turandot), Granade, E Lucevan Le Stelle, La Donna E Mobile, Perhaps Love, Se Quel Guerrier Io Fossi!, Celeste Aida (from Aida), Svegliatevi Nel Cor, Questa O Quella, Dammi I Colori (Recondita Armonia), M’Appari Tutt’ amor, Andalucia, Il Mio Tesoro, Firenze E Come Un Albero Fiorito From Gianni Schicchi, Recitar! Mentre Preso; Vesti La Giubba, O Soave Fanciulla, Love Until The End Of Time, Libiamo, Nei Lieti Calici (from La Traviata): Brindisi (Vocal), Willkommen Bei Uns (long version)
– Ann Stahmer