Viva Domingo!

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Bellini,Bizet,Guerrero,Handel,Lehar,Massenet,Meyerbeer,Mozart,Puccini,Saint-Saens,Spontini,Verdi etc
LABELS: EMI
WORKS: Opera arias by Bellini, Bizet, Lehár, Guerrero, Handel, Massenet, Meyerbeer, Mozart, Puccini, Saint-Saëns, Spontini, Verdi etc
PERFORMER: Plácido Domingo (tenor), Montserrat Caballé, Deborah Voigt, Cheryl Studer, Renata Scotto, Mirella Freni (soprano), Susan Graham (mezzo-soprano), Sherrill Milnes, Thomas Hampson (baritone) Simon Estes (bass) etc
CATALOGUE NO: EMI 648 7572

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Celebrations of Domingo’s 70th birthday are bursting out all over. No bad thing when there’s plenty to celebrate, as both these compilations from record companies for whom he has recorded steadily for decades amply demonstrate. 
 
EMI’s four-CD Viva Domingo! is the larger and more lavishly presented of the two, with Stephen Jay Taylor’s informed career overview and a useful list of his roles, year by year, plus plentiful illustrations, all adding to its appeal. What such a vast assembly of extracts also points up is that while there’s always energy and commitment to Domingo’s singing, it’s sometimes been interpretatively generalised and lacking in detail. Once or twice a top C – never an easy note for him – fails to bloom.
 
Yet the burnished bronze of his tone has been excitingly employed in whole swathes of the Verdi and Puccini repertoire, as well as in French specialities such as Samson et Dalila. That he should then move on to conquer Wagner – certain roles on disc only, but still convincingly achieved – is nothing less than a remarkable achievement.
 
Most of his great roles are sampled across these recordings, with some worthwhile operetta and zarzuela tracks included, though the Latin cocktail lounge music on the final disc already sounds pretty dated. George Hall