Placido Domingo’s new best friend

From the office of the Hungarian Prime Minister, Victor Orban:

Spanish opera singer, conductor and arts adminstrator Plácido Domingo congratulated Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on his election victory in a letter, Bertalan Havasi, the Prime Minister’s press chief informed the Hungarian news agency MTI on Friday.

Mr Domingo expressed hope that during the next term of government he would have the opportunity to visit Hungary and to continue his cooperation with talented Hungarian musicians and artists many of whom he ranks among the world’s best.

“The Hungarian people must be happy to have a leader like you who is such a great supporter of the arts and culture”, the opera singer wrote to Mr Orbán.

One of Mr Domingo’s other good friends:

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  • Politics at its finest.
    Although Mr Domingo is correct when he says that many Hungarian musicians are among the world’s best.

  • What is it with (some, too many) artists that they cannot see past their own narrow interests when it comes to politicians? Orban is a more malign influence than even Putin, and he may well have a more receptive population. I have no objection to Domingo’s enthusiasm for Hungarian artists, and I can understand that if he is visiting the country (or any other) he might well have to shake the hand of and be polite to the PM, but this fulsomeness seems excessive.

  • The Soft Left like to denigrate Orban, calling him a dictator whereas he lost two elections and there is a vigorous opposition, free to express itself, as has been seen in the streets and in the Hungarian press in the last few days. Weak leaders in the West like May and the weakened Macron use him as a diversion. We could do with such a leader with clear objectives and strong determination and principles over here.

  • To call Viktor Orban a more malign influence than Putin is absurd: he has neither the power (least of all in weaponry) or the influence. Hungary, as most people know, is a small country with a small population and it doesn’t have oil or other indispensables so has no power of blackmail.

  • It is more than evident that Señor Domingo is a bottomless pit of avarice and a self serving powermonger. He cloaks all this through some form of unofficial world ambassadorship for music. But who is he kidding? Too many, sorry to say. The man lost much of his integrity when he and his enablers thought he could baritone his way to Glory 2.0 let alone when he and they thought he could conduct let alone when he and they thought he could also manage two separate opera companies on opposite coasts at the same time. The hubris!

    • I think it highly probable that Cameron will have done far more damage to his country and the EU than ever Orban will do. Orban in any case doesn’t want to leave the EU and his criticisms of it are among those high on the list for people opting for Brexit. I also dislike the priggish, holier-than-thou tone in which you attack Placido Domingo.

        • And no, Orban will do unheard-of damage to the EU. He has stated (in a speech in Transylvania, just the right place to stir up trouble) that he wants to turn Hungary into an “illiberal state”. He has campaigned on anti-Semitism and anti-foreigner platforms, says that only Hungary is the bulwark against invading hordes from the east, has clamped down on the freedom of the press (in all its forms) and will subject groups which get foreign funding to a huge tax. And he is hoping that his pals in Poland and Slovakia will help him to spread his poison, at a time when many have forgotten (or have never learnt) the evils of fascism. I am shocked that Placido Domingo has said this. Especially bearing in mind that the great Hungarian pianist Andras Schiff has vowed never to return under this government, and that Ivan Fischer had his funding slashed after outspoken critiscism of Orban’s anti-semitism.

          • Thank you, Zelda. On his anti-Semitism alone — which I DO think finds a receptive element in Hungary — Orban is to be discouraged, to say the least. He is very anti-foreigner, another thing that is finding traction in rural Hungary, according to a British (not sure if it was BBC or another source) documentary I saw and watched twice to see if it was really as bad as I had thought in the beginning.

            And I fear he is finding all too much camaraderie in Eastern Europe. Some of those alleged EU member states have dug their heels in quite determinedly when it comes to placing their share of refugees. They ought to be kicked out of the EU but I suppose their financial contributions make them all too acceptable in Brussels. As a result western countries are accepting a heavy percentage of refugees, while behind the old iron curtain the desire to retain white faces only is being satisfied.

            Not the best company Maestro Domingo has ever kept.

          • Just because Viktor Orban disapproves of Soros does not make him an anti-Semite! Indeed, the accusation is absurd since the House of Terror in Budapest, a memorial to the Jewish victims of the Arrow Cross and all victims of Communism, was Orban’s idea. Why not go to Budapest and see for yourself instead of swallowing the false information of the Soft Left press? You are also interpreting the word “illiberal” incorrectly – it is intended in the sense of being opposed to the “laissez faire” policies of other governements.

          • My information comes not from any kind of “press” but from many Hungarian friends who love their country and either still live there or visit frequently: all of them agree that under the current regime antisemitism has been
            growing to an alarming degree.

  • Accusing Orban of anti-Semitism shows people don’t know what is really happening in Hungary. He introduced a law making Holocaust denial a crime and his government introduced the obligatory teaching about the Holocaust in all schools. Unfortunately, even the top press in Britain has become growingly unreliable and how can journalists speak of censoring the press when they don’t know Hungarian?

    • I have visited Hungary many times over the last 25 years, I speak a bit of Hungarian, and I have Hungarian friends and acquaintances, also non-Hungarian acquaintances including an American Jewish woman who has moved back to the USA after many years as she is now finding it unbearable. I have also seen one friend in particular move from being seemingly “liberal” to feeling that she was now able to express her extreme nationalist tendencies and her dislike of Jews. So that’s my perspective.
      And I see no reason to contradict people who know the situation better than I do, namely great musicians like Andras Schiff and Ivan Fischer.

  • Placido Domingo is an example about how someone is destroying his own legend. He was a great tenor, but he lost his credibility as he thought he could sing the baritone roles. Fact is that he sounds ghastly by now – and I really don’t understand why people still buy opera tickets for seeing him! Besides his tireless self promotion has become really, really embarrassing. His vanity seems to know no end and a day without celebrating himself on twitter or/and facebook seems to be a lost day for him. It’s rather pathetic and in a way I pity him.

    • Let’s have a sense of proportion! Domingo hasn’t performed before a set of Nazi dignitaries in order to celebrate the Fall of Paris to the most evil regime ever!

      • Mrs. Binder didn’t talk about any political situation but about Mr. Domingo’s lost voice, his strange change from tenor to baritone and his lost artistic reputation. Not more and not less. And every single word she said, unfortunately is very true.

    • +Bylle Binder, rather interesting how you place all responsibility for Placido Domingo’s legend just on him. You do know he has millions of fans who put him in that Living Legend category, because, like it or not, he couldn’t be there without them. No, only his haters claim *he’s* “ruining his legend.” You haven’t been to one of his latest performances, have you. He, without fail, receives a tumultuous standing ovation when he takes his solti curtain call. Those people are who he will take his retirement cues from, not you. Clearly, they like the baritone register of his tenor voice just fine. The reason you can’t understand why people still buy his tickets is because you were never a fan. His total artistry is what his fans still love and admire. They don’t scorn him just because he got old. That makes you the age bigot. Yay you. He doesn’t sound ghastly to those who love him. Get the picture? “Tireless self-promotion”? See, there you tipped your hand. That’s what Caruso did, and so did Pavarotti, both of whom are your guys, but when Domingo does it, then it’s wrong — amirite? LOL I know you think it means his fans are thus just zombies who do his bidding without question. Gee, how does a zombie manage to get through a day of life without any free will? His haters routinely use the “vanity” gag though it’s so darn easy to debunk. If he’s so vain, why doesn’t color his hair? Or why did go to work that time he was so sick he was literally unrecognizable and scared the hell out of anyone who laid eyes on him? Why hasn’t he had a facelift so he can keep doing hero roles? See how easy that was. Don’t feel sorry for him, because he’s clearly having the time of his life. But doesn’t it feel really good knowing that you cannot be forced to buy his tickets? Yeah, it feels really good to his fans too — means more for us. Hahahahahahahaha
      As for his reaching out to thank the leader of a country that has produced many artists whom he has worked with and admired, for apparently being a known supporter of the arts, that’s pure diplomacy in support of the arts, opera in specific. I thought diplomacy was desirable. Domingo is a natural diplomat and he’s not wrong. You and others may have legitimate complaints but whether or not he shares them is up to him to divulge if and when. His focus has always been on promoting opera most of all, but the preservation of art and art culture at large. The misguided attitude that if you think X is Y then you demand Z choose your side or be considered filth. Noooo, my fellow sinner, no. We all get to decide for ourselves if what you claim is true or not. And if we don’t agree, then that’s your cue not to hate, but to ask why. You open dialogue, not shut it down. You don’t start slinging insults, because everyone’s voice is just as important as yours. Now, go forth and sin no more. Prosit.

      • What a stupid reply! Form where you will no, Mrs. Binder wasn’t Domingo’s fan in his good years? Do you know her personally? You don’t. And what do you know about Domingo? Exactly nothing, you are just one of his fan-base who will acclaim enthusiastically even if he can’t sing a single tone anymore, where he isn’t far from. If you are not able to hear this, I’m very sorry for you because it means you are as unmusically as a pig.
        Mr. Domingo has still one enormous talent: he’s a genius in public relations. He’s not a “natural diplomat” how you call him, but he knows to turn every situation in a good one for himself. Just in this case the step he did wasn’t good for his reputation and shows that his brain doesn’t work very well anymore. There are some persons on this world, you shouldn’t be closed to as an artist. Orban is one of them. That’s the special question in this thread I think and not your hopeless admiration for a man who isn’t anymore, what you think to see on him.

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