"Creating the title role of Tan Dun’s opera is a great thrill for me for a variety of reasons. It is my first world premiere at the Metropolitan, where for close to 40 years, I have so far sung 579 performances of 45 different roles. I find Tan’s music inspiring and challenging and am intrigued with portraying a character who is a historic figure. In my repertoire of 123 different roles, there have been historical characters like Carlos (Don Carlo), Andrea Chenier, Rasputin, Goya, Lord Essex, Vasco de Gama, to mention a few. But this is the first time I’m dealing with a character of such tremendous power and of a lasting legacy the building of the Chinese Wall. As I prepare this role, I’m faced with the challenge of expressing as much as possible the different sides of the man’s character in his extremes: the all-powerful, almost ruthless, ruler versus the caring father of a daughter. In a way the part is reminiscent of Boris Godunov but that is, of course, a pivotal role in the repertoire of a bass, while the Emperor is written for the tenor voice, a voice not usually associated with portraying a character of this kind of total power."
Plácido DomingoPlácido Domingo in the title role of Gian Carlo Menotti's Goya, photo courtesy Klang Bogen Wien, Theater an der Wien