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Placido Domingo-- The Babe Ruth of Opera?
Museum Inspires Music from Composers Worldwide
It’s “This Week in Classical Music”; an update on what’s happening in the classical music world; I’m Randy Kinkel.
The great tenor Enrico Caruso sang about 60 roles; the diva Maria Callas, roughly 50. Renée Fleming, the most famous soprano today, says she has sung about 55.
But Plácido Domingo-- beats them all. As he takes the stage for Bizet’s “The Pearl Fishers” at the Salzburg Festival in Austria, Domingo will reach a virtually unheard-of milestone in opera -- He will sing his 150th role.
“If you look at the history of singers in opera, he stands by himself,” Joseph Volpe, the former general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, said. “If there was ever a giant in any industry, it’s Plácido Domingo. He’s unmatched.”
Now 77, well past the age at which most singers retire, Mr. Domingo has performed nearly 4,000 times in a six-decade career, recorded more than 100 albums, and become a household name as one of the Three Tenors and in appearances on “Sesame Street” and “The Simpsons.” “He’s a legend,” Met Opera GM Peter Gelb said. “If you’re a baseball fan, who wouldn’t want to see Babe Ruth in the final years of his career? And, like Babe Ruth, Domingo has delivered.”
Domingo says “I can tell you that it’s much harder to memorize text and music now than it was 30 or 40 or 50 years ago,” he said. “But I won’t let that stop me. I want to do it,” he said, “as long as I can do it well.”
A museum has invited internationally-acclaimed composers to visit, react and compose new works inspired by what they see at the Cleveland Museum of Art.
It's the latest initiative of the Cleveland Foundation's Creative Fusion residency program, which has brought international artists to Cleveland to collaborate and create since 2008.
This group has composers from Italy, America, Japan, Serbia, Rwanda, and Turkey whocome to research and then compose six original works inspired by the museum’s offerrings.
It's the brainchild of Tom Welsh, the museum's director of performing arts.
"We're in a very unique position at the art museum to be a tremendous platform or area for churning up ideas and inspirations," Welsh said. "So what if we have composers in and say, 'This is all here for you. What comes from this?' And a broader, wider open space to think deeply about what moves us and what can come from that."
Welsh looks for the music generated by program to reach beyond Northeast Ohio."The dream is that the work is so strong and beautiful and distinctive that it's going to live well beyond Cleveland itself and all of us," Welsh said.
Three of the compositions premiere in the spring at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and three more debut during the following concert season.
For more on these and other items and events, go to the website, K-B-A-C-H dot org; Be listening each week at this time for another update. Follow us on Facebook and twitter, and also listen every weekday at Noon for the Most Wanted Hour with Linda Cassidy, playing your top 100 classical hits. I’m Randy Kinkel for KBACH’s “This Week in Classical Music”; Member supported 89.5 KBAQ Phoenix and HD, a service of Rio Salado College and Arizona State University.