By Concha Barrigos
MADRID – Spanish tenor Placido Domingo laughs easily since he overcame the colon cancer with which he was diagnosed in March, and, turning entirely to enjoying life, he faces such challenges as his debut as a baritone in Madrid’s Teatro Real.
“I love challenges and not repeating myself too much, and if I can find something new, I try to do it,” the 69-year-old artist told Efe at the theater where he will appear in the role of “Simon Boccanegra” this week and where he held a packed press conference with the whole cast.
“I have a tenor voice but I have found the tone color of a baritone to play the part. The important thing is to touch the hearts of the audience listening to you, to excite and move them, make them cry when they should cry and laugh when they should laugh. That’s the privilege of being an artist,” he said.
His career as a baritone, beginning with “Simon Boccanegra,” which has already won him great success in Berlin, Milan, New York and London, is about to take another step forward when he appears in another Verdi opera, “Rigoletto,” in Mantua on Sept. 4-5, an event to be televised in 138 countries.
“He is another parent like Simon Boccanegra. I hope I can control the tears, because it’s an incredibly emotional role,” the singer said.
His life has changed since he was diagnosed with colon cancer and operated last March in New York, and he never tires of repeating that he has had “a lot of luck” or of recommending to everyone that they have a colonoscopy.
“I had a lot of luck and I see life from another perspective. I don’t take things so seriously and I enjoy much more what is special and what is important. It’s a privilege to still be alive and there comes a time when it all ends,” he said in the interview.
He said he never thinks about what happened to him.
“We are born and we die and it’s all part of life. What you have to do is make the most of time, do all the good you can, enjoy this world and not give any importance to what you don’t have. I laugh a lot more now,” he said.
Domingo, who feels “privileged” because he can communicate with an audience, give them his best and “make them happy,” confesses that what makes him proudest of all is “being Spanish.”
“It’s exciting to see that there are so many important things in Spain. Now that sports are so much the fashion, we have the national (World Cup-winning soccer) team, (basketball star Pau) Gasol, (tennis great Rafa) Nadal, (race-car driver Fernando) Alonso, (champion cyclist Alberto) Contador...it’s incredible, I feel very proud of them and also of our literature, our painting.”
Domingo said during the joint press conference with co-stars Angela Gheorghiu, Ferruccio Furlanetto and Marcello Giordani that he was “very moved” to be in Madrid and said that the more he sings Simon Boccanegra, the deeper he gets into the “richness and tone color” that go best with the character. EFE