Cristina Franchi – Placido Domingo and the Royal Opera
Foreword by Antonio Pappano
Oberon Books Ltd, 2006
Placido Domingo and the Royal Opera is the first volume of The Royal Opera House Heritage Series. The series has the purpose to tell the career at the Royal Opera House of significant personalities who distinguished themselves in their performances at the prestigious London theatre.
Placido Domingo made his debut on the stage of the Royal Opera in 1971 as Cavaradossi in Tosca. Then, he continued to appear regularly both as a singer and as a conductor. He made his British conducting debut at the Royal Opera in 1983 with Die Fledermaus.
Placido Domingo and the Royal Opera: Pictures
The book is lavishly illustrated and, from the point of view of the photographs, it is more than satisfactory. They give a quick but precise overview of several productions in which Domingo was cast, sometimes even of the same opera in two different settings. Of course, the photos keep a close eye on Domingo himself but you can also admire the rest of the cast, the costumes and the sceneries.
The only downside is that all the pictures, even the most recent ones, are in black and white.
Placido Domingo and the Royal Opera: Texts
The explanatory notes, on other hand, are often inadequate. They list few pieces of information about Domingo’s debut in this or that role, some members of the cast and little or no curiosity about the rehearsals and performances. Therefore, they are useful only to contextualize the pictures.
I suppose this is an intentional choice as the book is intended primarily as a photo reportage. However, a curious reader regrets that not a single review or opinion on Domingo’s achievements, not a single detail or anecdote about the performances is included here. This is even more disappointing as Placido Domingo and the Royal Opera is edited by Cristina Franchi, Exhibition Curator at the Royal Opera House, and that for this reason was reasonably expected as an authoritative – even not definitive – publication about the tenor/conductor’s relationship with the famous theatre.