Meet Placido Domingo’s new friends – Europe’s authoritarian leaders

We all know and admire the art of Maestro Placido Domingo, the great opera singer, conductor and musical director. He was born in Spain, raised in Mexico; his singing career blossomed in the United States and continued in Europe.

The 75-year old is well known in Budapest, he visited Hungary several times and the Maestro even considered bringing Ferenc Erkel’s historical Hungarian opera Bánk bán to Los Angeles. The project didn’t work out.

Placido Domingo and Viktor Orbán.

Placido Domingo and Viktor Orbán.

Five years ago Mr. Domingo wrote a letter to the Washington Post because he didn’t like the review of his conducting of Tosca at the Washington National Opera. Domingo wrote: “For the first time in my life, I am sending a letter to the editor of a newspaper, because your music critic Anne Midgette has crossed the line between reasonably objective criticism and what appears to be open animosity.” According to Ms. Midgette the performance was “sabotaged, by the conducting” of Mr. Domingo.

Critics started to ask: should superstar Placido Domingo retire? (Read here) Even the New York Times has brought up the sensitive issue: when is it time for a great artist to retire? Anthony Tommasini suggested that Domingo “should retire from the opera stage lest he tarnish the memory of a colossal career.” (Read here the NYT piece.)

Mr. Domingo refused to retire. Instead he started a series of highly lucrative performances in places like Moscow and Budapest. His new friend, Russian President Vladimir Putin was eager to appear with him and the Kremlin even published a presidential birthday greeting to the singer.

Russian President Putin and Placido Domingo.

Russian President Putin and Placido Domingo.

Hungary’s authoritarian Prime Minister, nicknamed “little Putin”, is just as ready to appear with Mr. Domingo. Last February isolated Mr. Viktor Orbán was elated when he shook hands with the superstar.

On August 10, Mr. Domingo is giving a concert at St. Stephen’s Basilica in Budapest, and I wouldn’t be surprised if another photo op is planned with Mr. Orbán.

György Lázár

6 Comments

  1. I was almost shocked a story about Erika Miklosa, a great Hungarian soprano of international standing. At the end of a concert this year, she announced that her last song will be so and so and that Victor Orban had heard it and had said that from now on this would be his favorite song.

    Very provincial, quite degrading and very sad.

  2. BTW

    Mixing the notions of culture and Orban is quite ridiculous, the man doesn’t even read, never did much.
    Opera and Orban is hilariously absurd.

  3. In Germany Orban is known as the “puszta Putin”. Mr. Domingo is not the old (voice that is) thus he enjoys any publicity wherever with whomever.

  4. I’m worried that Orban will sing one day. 😀

    Not a bad idea otherwise, he could go to Roszke and sing opera to keep the migrants away. I think with singing one single aria from Bánk bán he could disperse an even bigger crowd than the internet demonstration was.

    Uncle Placido is getting an old star not shining as he used to. When female stars getting old they start stripping, when male stars getting old they start to shake hands with politicians. 😀

  5. Not all Jews are rotten.

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