Role over hoax? Domingo is to sing Baron Ochs

Role over hoax? Domingo is to sing Baron Ochs


norman lebrecht

December 28, 2017

It is reported in Spain that Placido Domingo has agreed to sing Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier in Madrid and Barcelona in 2021, when he will be 8o years old.


Comment is superfluous. Ecclesiastes 1:1 says it all.

UPDATE: Today is the Spanish day for hoaxes. We were had.


  • Petros Linardos says:

    Seriously? What next? Will he sing the Grand Inquisitor from Don Carlos in 2031?

  • OperaGeek says:

    ‪Today, 28th December – the Feast of the Holy Innocents, is the Spanish equivalent of April Fools’ Day: so I suspect this is a joke.‬

  • Kurt Samper says:

    This is the second “Inocentada” you have echoed today. Nothing non-expected

  • Henry Rosen says:

    You’d think he’d have a little respect for the opera industry. Let’s face it, he won’t learn it, won’t have all the notes and it will be a sham. Please will he just let it all go..

  • Anonymous says:

    So he’ll be paying a lecherous old man forcing his attention of young women?

    Obviously, they’ll be no method acting involved.

    And he’ll be 80 in 2021? Yeah, right…

  • Aina Giralt says:

    For general information: december 28th is the “fool’s day” in Spain…

  • Bill Worley says:

    Sorry but this is ridiculous. I, and a lot of others, used to have a great deal of respect for Domingo in the 70s and 80s. I think his performances in Otello, Bohem, Luisa Miller L’Africaine, Tosca were, and still are, second to none. I think he should retire and let us all love with the very happy memories

  • Maans Oosthuizen says:

    Didn’t he at some stage consider singing Hollander as well?

  • Linda Trotter-Heger says:

    I hope this isn’t true! Mr. Domingo was one of my favorites, back in his early career. My memories are being tarnished by his attempt to keep singing. Also, Mr. Domingo was born in 1934, not 1941 as he claims!!! Time to retire from singing, Placido!!!

  • MacroV says:

    I admired his move into Wagnerian roles like Parsifal or Siegmund, even if they might not have been to everyone’s taste, but Ochs at 80 seems a bridge too far.

  • Medi says:

    O no!! His German is miserable and how to get an Austrian accent? He will never be able to perform Ochs! (They should engage G. Groisböck – best of today). And he would be OVER 80 by then….Placido – please retire at least from singing…

  • Ron Lee says:

    This is getting out of hand. Ochs at 80? He doesn’t have the low notes or the acting chops for this role…what’s next? Mezzo roles..Placido has given us plenty over the years..its time to retire..

  • carlos aransay says:

    Don’t you know that today is April Fools Day in Spain? All Spanish press carries porkie pies today….28th December…day of the Holy Innocents…so , no such thing as Ochs for Domingo.

  • JBrachmann says:

    That can only be a joke! He does not have the deep notes for that role. So he would never ever be able to perform that role!

  • erich says:

    A rumour as baseless as his voice!

  • Save the MET says:

    Perhaps Oktavian would suit him.

  • herrera says:

    From what I can gather from the reaction here, Spain’s “Day of the Innocents'” is a day in which the press chooses someone at random to ironically mock them or to provoke ridicule.

    Nice holy day.

    How about this: Juan Carlos will be the next King of Catalonia.

    Ha ha ha.

  • David A. Boxwell says:

    Baron Ochs’s Blue Pills.

  • Catalina López de los Mozos says:

    Today is “el día de los inocentes” like April Fools Day. Anyway this man will continue to sing until eternity ! We are many Spaniards who are completely tired of Placido Domingo…

  • John Carpenter says:

    Baron Bueyes in Caballero dela Rosa!! Ha Ha, Strauss/Hofmannstahl would roll over in their graves!

  • Tristan says:

    Trust Salzburg will offer him the Queen of the Night soon as the audience there would love it! Ochs must be a rumour as Erich rightly said. Most of Domingo’s last roles were embarrassing but he still fills houses that normally struggle to sell seats; audiences nowadays have as less knowledge as managers of opera companies – the least skills however have 90% of the critics

  • Alexander says:

    there was a talk in Europe he was going to sing Violetta in “la Traviata” about the same time as it was mentioned in your note …. 😉

  • MWnyc says:

    Okay, so this was an April-Fools-in-December joke. But it says a lot (and not just about us) that so many of us didn’t put it past Domingo to actually try that role.

  • Seth Lubin says:

    I could never agree that Domingo was successful in Puccini roles as his high B and high C were so inconsistent.

    No matter what year he claims as his year of birth, he should RETIRE. There are several wonderful young true baritones that deserve contracts in major opera houses.

    Spinish ‘April Fools’ or not, this season at the MET he takes on Miller in Luisa Miller. It is a role that requires the stamina and voice of a young Verdi baritone. He will fail as he did in Rigoletto and DiLuna. Both roles he never sang at the MET. His Carlo in Ernani (at the MET) was pathetic. He craftily cancelled the International radio broadcast so that he would not be heard for the Fraud he is.

  • James Levister says:

    Domingo has some of that Tebaldi factor wherein the love he elicits from his fans mutes their perception of his voice and it’s application to music drama as his powers have declined. The same occurred among Tebaldi fans toward the end BUT she had the good sense to stick with tempermentally favorable roles. I last saw her in her last Met Otello in1971. Despite the sharp decline in consistent vocal control her power and ability to convey the role through effective phrasing remained. In the 90s I believe I saw Domingo and Freni in Fedora. Sadly he was at a loss to communicate his character with any of the skill that Tebaldi was able to hold onto even to the end.

  • Sixtus says:

    Ecclesiastes 1:1 says it all? “The words of the Teacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.”

    This is the second time on SD that I’ve had to point out that NL likely intended to cite the far more relevant, famous and quotable Ecclesiastes 1:2 — Vanity of vanities etc.

    But “vanities” actually refers to something like mist or vapor, as in the modern “vaporware”. The passage, like much of the rest of Eccl/Kohelet is a comment on the fleeting nature of life, NOT on “vanity” as we commonly use the term now.

    Ironically, given that Domingo doing Ochs is a hoax, Eccl 1:2 is indeed appropriate, though not in the way NL intended.