CULTURE

Domingo to grace the Herod Atticus

There was no shortage of fun and delight at world-renowned Spanish tenor Placido Domingo’s news conference in Athens this week ahead of tonight’s performance at the Herod Atticus. When asked about the difficulties of fine-tuning and maintaining top-grade vocal delivery in opera, Domingo likened the effort to keeping cool the temperament of a jealous woman. «The voice is even more sensitive than a jealous woman. One must be careful all the time… It’s an extremely difficult profession that requires enormous self-discipline, and you’ve got to learn to accept its burdens,» Domingo said. «You don’t have the luxury of working selectively on only the things you like. You’ve got to keep turning up to news conferences, practice continuously, and spend hours in total silence. But I keep loving this job more and more, as well as the required sacrifices. It’s all been worth it. It’s a tremendous gift to be able to make people happy, to forget about their problems, when you sing.» Domingo’s passionate approach to his work could well be the elixir that has kept this artist robust at the age of 64. The famous tenor replied humorously when asked why he had not yet retired from the stage: «I’m still able to cope because I have Greek yogurt with honey for breakfast every day. The truth is that I never expected to still be singing, which is why I took on the position of director at the Los Angeles and Washington operas. But I’m still managing.»  He offered an interesting remark on the more recent blends of opera with pop. «It’s helping classical music attract new listeners, including people who knew absolutely nothing about the classical repertoire but were charmed and discovered opera,» Domingo said. Tonight’s performance will include a wide mix, ranging from Verdi to «West Side Story.» Domingo, accompanied by soprano Veronica Villarroel, will be backed by the Thessaloniki State Orchestra and Eugene Kohn as conductor. Domingo’s performance is part of this year’s Athens Festival, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Communication sponsors include Kathimerini’s K magazine supplement, and the local radio stations Skai 100.3 FM and Melodia 99.2 FM.