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Plácido Domingo: ‘Voice is a jealous woman – treat her badly and you’ve ended it’

November 14, 2008

Plácido Domingo is set to perform tonight alongside Costa Rica´s Iride Martínez and Spanish-Venezuelan Nancy Fabiola at the Ricardo Saprissa Stadium, the opera tenor´s first appearance in this Central American nation.

“For many years I´ve wanted to come here … the time has finally come,” Domingo said Wednesday to a room packed with reporters at the Hotel Real InterContinental in Escazú, west of San José.

“My parents and their zarzuela company came on many occasions; I have many photographs of my parents with President (José “Pepe”) Figueres,” he said, speaking about the same zarzuela – or Spanish musical theater – group he later sang with as a child.

Domingo, 67, made his debut in a leading tenor role as Alfredo in Verdi´s La Traviata in Monterrey, Mexico, in 1961. His name gained household recognition with, among other feats, “The Three Tenors” gala concert that occurred ever four years to accompany soccer´s World Cup tournament, along with fellow Spanish singer José Carreras and the late Italian legend, Luciano Pavarotti.

The tenor has come to Costa Rica amid a tumultuous period for him as general director of the U.S. Washington National Opera, which recently had to postpone its production of all four operas of Wagner´s “Ring” cycle “until the financial climate becomes more positive,” he said in a statement, according to the New York Times.

Tuesday he spoke about the difference between his two hats, conductor and singer.

Conducting, he said, demands enormous focus but is less of a challenge.

“Conducting is like picking up the reins of a Roman chariot,” he said. “It´s incredible. It gives you tranquility. It´s a lot more daunting to sing than to conduct.

“I´ve always considered the voice like the most jealous woman in the world. It lives with you, you have to treat it very well, you have to pamper it, show it affection, and the second you treat it badly, you´ve ended it,” he said.

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