Placido Domingo is a double flop at Verona

Placido Domingo is a double flop at Verona


norman lebrecht

August 30, 2022

The Corriere headline reads:

Placido Domingo, flop at the Verona Arena: the orchestra refuses to stand up for the final applause

Report here

The report mentions ‘repeated amnesia’ and ‘sudden lowering of the voice’ in Aida and La traviata.

UPDATE: A trade union acting for members of the orchestra further denounced Domingo’s ‘mediocre’ conducting of Turandot.
‘In Turandot,’ the CGIL wrote, ‘all the orchestra players felt abandoned to their own devices, risking on more than one occasion to all fall on their faces. At the end there was a protest from the orchestra which, aware of the mediocrity of the show, refused to stand up at the gesture of the conductor’.

See here.

The flops did not stop dozens of diehard fans chorusing their admiration on Facebook.


  • Stephen Lawrence says:

    It feels like one should be more critical of those who appointed the man than the man himself. There but for the grace of God go I.

  • The View from America says:

    This surprises no one.

  • Lothario Hunter says:

    I am jolly flustered, am I. The Corriere editorial board has bombed this situation twice:

    First of all, they shouldn’t have sent this lady (la Peluso) to report on this concert. What does she know about a man’s urges? They should have sent Valerio Cappelli. Being Muti’s pet journalist, he was unquestionably, by a long stretch, the best man to cover Domingo. So that’s one source of frustration.

    Second, Valerio Cappelli and the Corriere just blew another opportunity to give Muti the first page to defend his latin lover pal. Now it’s the time to explain the whole with-me2-mozart-would-be-in-jail thing, the Mutian philosophy. Now it’s the time to put your neck on the line, Signore Muti, and go to bat for those who are dearest to you, your true companions! And that’s two.

    But third, and of the utmost importance, oh so now the Arena orchestra does not give a standing ovation for Domingo. But they did give a standing ovation for Muti for Aida 150, if I am not sorely mistaken? What’s up with that? Two octogenarians pals, two latin lovers, same interests, same passions, same hobbies (in Chicago, we know), one gets discriminated and battered, the other exalted and put on a pedestal. It’s just wrong. Bloody unfair, if you ask me.

    My old chap drinking here next me at the pub keeps telling, what do you expect, these are the Italians, let it go, but still … it hurts.

    • Hugo Preuß says:

      Let me suggest a ban of the word “Muti” in these comments for any topic not directly related to, well, Muti. Perhaps first for a trial period of three months.

      On another note: since when is it a standing ovation for the conductor when the orchestra stands after a performance? Poor naive me, I always thought they were acknowledging the applause.

    • Robin Worth says:

      There’s another article by Peluso in the Corriere, this time an interview with Ricciarelli, whom she quotes commenting negatively on singers who go on too long and refers to PD. Is she entirely objective?

    • Mary S. Munro says:

      Was Placido really involved in a sex trafficking ring or did he pay to play? If there was a way for a woman to get a happy ending from an experienced sex worker at a bargain rate without going to an expensive escort service, I would have been using that during my time at high stress jobs that required so much of my time I had no social life.

      • ChrysanthemumFan says:

        Reportedly, after the first news emerged suggesting he knew about and knowingly participated in sex trafficking, a correction was issued stating he had used the trafficked women without knowledge they were trafficked.

  • Viv says:

    True definition of disgrace

  • Gunther Kraus says:

    My suspicion:
    Domingo gave the same performance that he had been giving for the past 5ish years; the Italian audiences are simply more discerning than the Russian or Austrian audiences where Domingo is still welcome.

    The same thing happened a few years ago when Domingo conducted at Bayreuth and was booed. He is only welcome at houses where he can pull the wool over the eyes of the audiences.

  • Giora says:

    Flacido Domingo…

  • Ernest says:

    Time to call it a day.

  • IP says:

    As I said, the lack of a competent audience is killing opera. After all, there is nothing to stop PD from exhibiting unprofessional rubbish to crowds willing to pay. It’s not against the law. And, little by little, art and culture disappear from the scenery.

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      Others would argue that the garbage that ‘sells’, pays for the other stuff – the good stuff! – to keep going onward.

    • MMcGrath says:

      I love it. “Competent audience.” You and Andras Schiff! Sheesh. You’d have us all get PhDs in the songs of Hugo Wolf and sit attentively.

      There has ALWAYS been the populist side of classical music. Mario Lanza, Domingo, Pavarotti wore a scarf and the serious people said the world was going to end. Ditto with supertitles, TV broadcasts and (shudder) public viewing! Egads.

  • CRogers says:

    Where are the proper critiques of the concert?

  • William Evans says:

    If PD can no longer remember Aida and Traviata, it’s surely an undeniable sign, even if the voice is excused, that he should retire.

  • Chiara says:

    Domingo should have stopped singing at least twenty years ago – when he was still a tenor. If he had just retired, taken up golf and adjudicated at a few competitions he could have left a great legacy. Instead his continued (attempted) singing and his alleged abusive behaviour have, sadly, tainted that legacy.

  • Romano Endrighi says:

    Well said my friend

  • Zee says:

    I wish opera was like tennis : if you can’t do it at your best level any more, please retire gracefully. Domingo was NEVER a good conductor (remember when WP critic wrote he “sabotaged” a Washington National Opera’s Tosca he conducted) and his singing has been questionable for years. Ten years ago I would have said he was a good tenor, although never my favorite (his Tristan recording comes to mind), but now, I shudder to even see an article about him.

    • JJ says:

      He renounced mainstream tenor roles almost twenty years ago, not ten. He continued to occasionally sing tenor roles only in operas nobody had heard of, or revivals of very obscure operas, so the public won’t know what to expect and won’t protest transpositions and cuts. Before he switched to his baritone act he went on for about a decade in the 1990’s by using downward transpositions, or, when these weren’t an option, by producing ugly tones in the upper half of his voice. So, no, he wasn’t a good tenor ten years ago, in my opinion. He wasn’t a _good tenor_ not even thirty years ago, possibly never, but thirty years ago he was at least a respectable _singer_ , who was a bit more musical than some of his colleagues, though his musicality as a singer was never outstanding in my opinion, and never translated into anything noteworthy in his attempts at conducting. I agree he wasn’t a good conductor, and I would add, he never was a baritone at all. Whatever his reasons for clinging to the stage in the past thirty years, offering good performances to the public wasn’t one of them. I don’t expect singers to retire when they’re at their best. I don’t mind them even sticking it past their sunset, every singer of a certain age does so, but it is a great difference to stick it for five, even ten years longer, and to stick it doggedly for thirty and counting. It is also a difference if a singer sticks to mostly recital concerts for his nostalgic fans in this period, or worms himself back into regular opera performances under a different guise, spoiling an otherwise acceptable cast with both the rests of his ‘voice’ and the advanced physical decline of his person. Looks have never been my priority when considering singers, provided the voice and the ‘artistry’ are noteworthy, but at eighty Domingo looks and moves like Methuselah, with voice to match. If he can’t let go, why doesn’t he stick to recitals? There he won’t be in anyone’s way.

  • Anne-Louise Luccarini says:

    He was the greatest tenor.