Placido Domingo

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 March, 2008, 12:00am

Placido Domingo

AsiaWorld-Arena

Reviewed: Mar 1

Tenor Placido Domingo's performance with mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins suffered from its less-than-ideal venue. It is simply hard to feel the visceral power of a voice in such a cavernous space as the AsiaWorld-Arena, in which the audience is often left to manipulations of the microphone.

Nevertheless, Domingo (right) is a world-class performer in almost any genre and he did not disappoint. Having chosen challenging songs, he presented them expertly as he tried to connect with the audience as best he could in the setting.

His arias from Le Cid (Massenet), L'Arlesiana (Cilea), Die Walkuere (Wagner) and Tosca (Puccini) were spot on, except for one curious phrase in Tosca that was presented in falsetto, something I don't believe I ever would have heard in a proper opera house.

His English diction in Some Enchanted Evening and The Merry Widow was surprisingly good. It was a pleasure to hear him again and experience his truly remarkable vocal and musical gifts.

Jenkins, the current sensation in 'crossover' singing, did not live up to the hype. Her vibrato was too fast, the result of incorrect support. She sang flat and in almost every song avoided sustaining any high notes.

Her two arias from Carmen were disappointing, and her Una voce poco fa from The Barber of Seville was almost painful at times: the coloratura wasn't clean and she just couldn't sing all the notes. She was out of tune and it was clear she didn't understand Rossini's style.

But the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, led by Eugene Kohn, was very much in its element. Kohn looked at ease with the orchestra and it responded with some inspired playing.