Placido Domingo – Live in Prague
In his speech (in English) near the end of the concert, Domingo tells us that though this was not his first visit to Prague it was his official debut in the city. It was a big occasion. President Havel and his wife are prominently in the front row and Domingo greets them with touching remarks about their fight for freedom, a presidency gained ‘by right and not just by politics’.
Standing as in a florist’s shop and with more blooms still arriving, he gives two encores himself and leads the audience in the Brindisi from La traviata. The young soprano joins him, but he (for all his gallantry of manner and ungrudging division of the programme) is the centre and prime attraction. This was in 1994, and Angela Gheorghiu had been on the international scene for only two years; in a very short while, the billing, and the share of interest, would probably have been rather different.
She, too, was making her Prague debut. Beginning with ‘Porgi amor’, sung with the kind of beauty Te Kanawa brought to it in her prime, she goes on to the aria from La Wally, which is even better. He too is in fine form, a gleam of strong metal shining through the velvet. Eventually, as viewers, we are drawn in; yet neither the camera-work nor the sound quality quite makes us feel we are there. For those who were, the DVD will be an attractive memento