16 February 2018 at 3.35pm | 11 Comments
'When people say to me, "It's difficult times for opera - do you think it's dying out?", I always say: "Opera is immortal"', says legendary singer and conductor Plácido Domingo.
'Unless in a few years we're all robots without feeling, heart and soul, then people will continue to be enchanted, touched and moved [by the art form]. They'll cry and will feel joy with this phenomenal music. There's nothing better.'
Domingo has returned to Covent Garden to conduct The Royal Opera's production of Puccini's Tosca, a piece that he knows well as he made his ROH debut in the principal role of Cavaradossi nearly 50 years ago.
'I made my [Royal Opera House] debut in Franco Zeffirelli's production', Domingo told BBC Radio 4's Today. 'I called him yesterday because it was his birthday and said "I'm in Covent Garden conducting Tosca and I remember when I was singing here in 1971!"
But what is it that keeps him coming back, both on stage and in the pit, to this particular piece?
'Puccini was one of the greatest composers, especially for the public. In just a few bars, we realise what's happening, and you feel the drama. It's just amazing.'
'For me the most important thing is that in every word and every phrase, you give everything [as a performer]. In Andalucia we have something that we call El duende – a little dwarf. When [everything in a performance is just right] you say the duende is there: I have an extraordinary orchestra, production, colleagues; and the public is with you. This is the magic of opera'
Tosca runs until 3 March 2018. Tickets are sold out, although returns may become available and Friday Rush sees tickets released each week.
The production is staged with generous philanthropic support from Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet, Aud Jebsen, Rena and Sandro Lavery, The Mikheev Charitable Trust and Mr and Mrs Christopher W.T. Johnston.