Plácido Domingo – The great old man of opera returns

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Dramma lirico in four parts by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901). Libretto by Temistocle Solera. Performance of October 13, 2019 in the Oper Zürich.

I attended the premiere of this Nabucco on June 23, 2019 and reviewed it then.

There was one single reason for revisiting this Nabucco: the return of Placido Domingo to the European stage after his troubles in the USA. Expectations ran high and everybody was there to see how the maestro was going to do.

The cast of the performance was entirely different from the June performance with the exception of Veronica Simeoni and of course Fabio Luisi in the pit.

The minimalistic staging had the huge green marble slab moving around the whole performance, the chorus dashed around the stage too and performed curious routines. The green Sissi-like costumes hinted that this was the time of the Risorgimento. Visually it was a bit boring. But I have seen much worse from Homoki.

In  the center of the opera Nabucco is the king. And that was Placido Domingo. I was surprised about the vocal force he mustered right from the start. This is amazing considering his age. And as the evening progressed he took every opportunity to show what great singer actor he still is. His “Oh! mia figlia” and “Deh perdona” were extremely touching and even beautiful. Well yes, he is no baritone, but he is Domingo!
The ovations he received were huge and without any reservations. He even got two big hugs from the soprano.

The rest of the cast was very good too. I have some ambivalent feelings about the Abigaille of Oksana Dyka. The steel top notes were there and she played the bitch to perfection. But her lower register was not very present. There were some ugly tones which fitted the role. Zaccaria was sung splendidly by Vitaij Kowaljow with an expressive grainy bass. Veronica Simeoni did her best with the unthankful role of Fenena and sang her aria beautifully. The tenor of Otar Jorjikia did not make any impression at all.

Fabio Luisi, the orchestra and the chorus repeated their excellent performance.

Overall a very enjoyable and musically impressive Nabucco dominated by the maestro – the great old man of opera – Placido Domingo (forever….?).

Flamand Olivier

(published on 14 October 2019)

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Flamand Olivier


Opera fan for 70 years. Collects opera videos. Favourite operas Arabella, Turandot and Meistersinger. Favourite composers Mozart, Verdi and Wagner. Favourite singers Lisa della Casa, Jose Carreras. Likes any staging which serves the music.

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1 year ago

Thank you for this review! I would have loved to be there. Grande Domingo! The States can learn a lesson from civilised Europe! I, too, love Kowaljow in this role. Heard him several times, always great.

Jacques Liers
Jacques Liers
1 year ago

In anyway I am glad I wasn’t there. Not for what happened in the USA but I think that if something happens of such, the whole world is on the go. Because it’s Domingo it can happen. What kind of people are you ? I have 72 years of opera experience, music studies and singing studies behind me. I have seen approximately everything in that regard and nobody opened his mouth. So, or you tolorate or you shut up. Make your choice.