Domingo's 50th at Met;
Homeless Choir sings "Amahl"
It’s “This Week in Classical Music”, an update on what’s happening in the Classical music world; I’m Randy Kinkel.
“For us, the opera singers, it is just like Frank Sinatra said: New York, New York, if you made it, you made it everywhere,” the 77-year-old singer from Spain said last week when he was honored on stage for the 50th anniversary of his Met debut in 1968.
Domingo’s performance Friday in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi was his 52nd role and 695th appearance at the Met as a singer and conductor.
During a ceremony, Met general manager Peter Gelb gave Domingo a pair of gifts.“Since you have owned this stage for your entire career, we thought we’d give you a piece of it. So this was removed from the stage earlier this week,” Gelb said before bestowing a chunk of flooring upon the singer.
Domingo’s wife Marta, son Alvaro and two grandchildren looked on as a montage of Domingo’s career was shown, including a scene from Sesame Street with Miss Piggy.
A few bouquets of flowers were thrown from the audience.
“The last 20 years, it seems to me like that they are five,” he said after the ceremony, “Time passes so quickly. One wishes that the time, maybe we can do it in a slow motion now the next years.” Domingo received a 2 minute standing ovation when introduced.
A choir and soloists continue rehearsals for On Site Opera’s production of Menotti's opera Amahl and the Night Visitors, written for television and first performed on NBC in 1951.
But the singers include people you might not expect to see: The Homeless.
The show will be presented in the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in Chelsea, and features professional musicians and vocalists alongside a chorus made up of people who have experienced homelessness and who now live at the 43rd Street site of Breaking Ground, New York City’s largest provider of permanent supportive housing for the homeless.
On Site Opera is an organization that has put on site-specific operas all over New York, the Cotton Club in Harlem, the Bronx Zoo, Atlanta Botanical Garden, and in the dinosaur exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History.
“The object is to find that perfect intersection of piece and place that speaks to us as producing artists” said Eric Einhorn, the general and artistic director of On Site Opera.
Einhorn said the soup kitchen in Chelsea was the ideal modern location to tell a biblical story. Around 25 residents auditioned for the choir; Those selected will have their names, photos, and Bios for the show program, sharing as little or as much about their lives as they choose.
“Really, who they were, and whatever their experience of homelessness is, is secondary to them being here and doing this project with us,” said Einhorn. the choral singers from Breaking Ground will get a financial stipend, as well as the contemporary clothes that they will wear for the production.
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