Saturday, 6 August 2011

August Opera Challenge Day Six: Best Tenor

If we were talking specifically about a tenor for my generation of opera-goers, then my choice would certainly be Jonas Kaufmann, but given that the title of this challenge is simply 'Best Tenor', I will have to go for Placido Domingo. Since starting to write this blog and delving into the opera community on Twitter, I've spoken to and met some genuine Placido superfans. People who know every detail there is to know and have followed him all over the world. I'm certainly envious of them (especially those that have seen him sing some of his greatest roles in the greatest productions in the greatest opera houses) but I can't claim to be that sort of fan. I guess relatively speaking, I'm too young to have trotted all over the globe for him, and having been a student until quite recently, I've never had the financial means. I do love him, though. And in many ways, he was my introduction to opera.

I feel like I've told the story of my seeing Zeffirelli's film of La Traviata when I was a little girl again and again (I've certainly told it on this blog before) so I won't bore you with the details, but the upshot was I fell for him in a big way. I bought a Domingo recording. It was the first record (of any description) that I'd ever bought, and it started something serious. Maybe it was even a bit detrimental to my love of opera, as there's this little bit of me that only ever feels like a tenor role is sung properly when it's PD singing it. I breathe a little sigh of relief when I hear that gorgeous voice. And it is just one of the most gorgeous voices that there has ever been. OK. Let's not gush too much. But what to pick? We'll probably have some La Traviata later on in the August Opera Challenge. And some Fanciulla. And some Otello. And there will definitely be some Tosca. Puccini's Manon Lescaut? Yes. Let's have some Manon Lescaut. And what else but the love duet? Sigh.


  1. I remember watching him in the Three Tenors concerts back when I was a little kid, and thinking he was fabulous. But I never really liked tenors until fairly recently (JDF and Jonas Kaufmann have won me over in a bad way), so while I always liked him on principle, he was never one of my favorites. But I saw him in the Met broadcase of Iphigenie en Tauride this spring, which is one of my favorite operas, and I could only think, "So THIS is why he's famous. Bravo, signor."

  2. I love the way that, in your blog post about Kaufmann, your sister described JDF as 'the sparkly' tenor. I might have to steal that adjective!
    Funny how different voice types appeal- I'm a baritone/bass girl really, and I wonder if it's the spinto with Domingo and Kaufmann that appeals so strongly.