Where’s Placido? Conducting Andrea Bocelli….

‘Just wrapped up the first 2 days as conductor of Andrea’s recording of Manon Lescaut in Valencia,’ writes the ex-tenor.


domingo bocelli

The soprano, Ana Maria Martinez, does not get in the pictures.


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    • Here is Bernard Holland in the New York Times in 2006:

      “The critic’s duty is to report that Mr. Bocelli is not a very good singer. The tone is rasping, thin and, in general, poorly supported. Even the most modest upward movement thins it even more, signaling what appears to be the onset of strangulation.

      “To his credit, Mr. Bocelli sings mostly in tune. But his phrasing tends toward carelessness and rhythmic jumble, and the little barks and husky vocal expletives that are the mother’s milk of Italian tenordom sound faded and unconvincing. The diction is not clear.”

    • We are in good company. Here is what Quasthoff had to say about Bocelli:

      “Andrea Bocelli is not an opera singer,” he proclaims, “and I cannot understand why Pavarotti should have called him ‘my successor’. What is that? Where are we living? Where is the quality? Why are big conductors making records with this guy? I am a teacher, and I know how hard it is to learn classical singing. He is not a classical artist.”


  • The woman pictured at the top in between Domingo and Bocelli is Helga Schmidt, Intendent of the Palau de Les Arts Opera in Valencia.

    It’s surprising that she hasn’t been more on the international radar, as Mortier and Matabosch have been, considering all that she has had to deal with lately. She’s a strong, determined woman with an impeccable background in opera who’s had to confront her hall falling down, a budget slashed by nearly half, her own salary cut by 1/3, unfounded attacks by politicians and the press and much much more. And she’s still there, doing her job and doing it well. Her bio:


    Her next task will be the selection of a new music director for the company. Typically of the close-knit, nationalistic/regionalistic Valencians, all 8 candidates for the position are native Valencians. It’s pretty slim pickings when you limit candidates for a job once held by Maazel to only local candidates, but here’s who they are choosing from: http://www.valenciaplaza.com/ver/116392/ocho-candidatos-para-la-batuta-del-palau-de-les-arts.html

    Valencia’s constant efforts to keep the Palau Opera project local have been a disaster. And yet this is how Valencia’s musicians typically function. They are exceptionally clannish not only in Valencia but throughout Spain. The only concessions in hiring to non-Valencian talent at Les Arts have been the highly paid international stars like Maazel who have left the company bankrupt and barely able to function.

    Valencians wanted a Valencian architect. They hired Santiago Calatrava and the whole complex is falling down. Big disaster. So now they want a Valencian music director chosen from 8 unproven locals. Helga Schmidt is the only outside voice of reason in this situation and I sincerely hope she can help these clannish Valencians integrate their opera house internationally.

  • How I wish Placido Domingo would retire gracefully so that he can be fondly remembered by everyone as a great tenor. I doubt if his frenetic workload at the moment is because he is short of money.

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