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Jumping straight into a car he drove at high speed through New York's dense traffic, doing vocal exercises at the steering wheel.Although the performance began twenty minutes late, Domingo's premature Met debut was a triumphant success.
The vocal virility that is the particular hallmark of this collection is still present forty-one years later.
This is despite his being the Otello sans pareil for a generation, from his first assumption of Verdi’s most demanding tenor role in 1968, and which none of his coevals - Corelli, Bergonzi, Pavarotti - were ever able to assume on stage. I believe that there is only one that the singer did not go on to record complete in the studio, several more than once in halcyon days, now long gone, of studio recordings of complete operas.
A few weeks before this legendary debut at the Met, Teldec recorded the young tenor's first solo recital.
In the light of his subsequent career the recording is a unique historical document, and is here re-released by Warner at bargain price.
His singing of La dolcissima effigie from his Met debut opera Adriana Lecouvreur is characterful and nicely phrased.
In Nessun dorma, now the tenors’ virility symbol, where Domingo has the benefit of an uncredited small chorus, his concluding top note is true and matches that of his equally famous Italian coeval (tr.6).
His 1990 complete recording of Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor (DG 459-491-2) is far superior in characterisation than that here (tr.8).
He lets the voice ‘sit’ on the notes and invests his phrases with more grace.
Born in 1941, Domingo made his stage debut in 1957, as a baritone, singing zarzuelas.
His first tenor role was as Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata, also in Mexico. After that he joined the National Opera in Tel Aviv, learning his trade singing in over 300 performances, mainly in Hebrew!