Katia Ricciarelli Weighs in on Plácido Domingo’s Arena di Verona Performances

By Francisco Salazar

Soprano Katia Ricciarelli is weighing in on Plácido Domingo’s controversial performances at the Arena di Verona.

The soprano, who performed with Domingo for many years told Corriere della Sera, “It’s a physiological question. The vocal cords are muscles that, with age, no longer work as they once did. This is the reason why I no longer do opera: I don’t want to risk it. Marilyn Horne, an American alto and mezzo-soprano, told me several years ago that when she encountered even just one note in an opera that bothered her, she stopped interpreting it. I agree with her. Domingo has always been a great tenor: why become a baritone over the years? It’s something I don’t understand.”

She added, “We are creatures of the public and we must accept the judgment that is given to us. Quoting the conductor Von Karajan: if you believe in the good things that are said to you, then you must also believe in the bad ones. In short, it takes self-criticism. I am not the same Katia Ricciarelli of the past. It takes inventiveness: I have done films, plays, musicals, many other things, besides opera. If Plácido Domingo has already been included in the 2023 programming, that gala could turn into a tribute with guests who recall moments of his career. Having said that, everyone is free to do what they want.”

Ricciarelli’s comments come after Domingo performed at the Arena di Verona and was unable to conclude the performance on August 25 and on August 26 the members of Verona’s orchestra refused to stand during the final ovations in protest of the quality of Domingo’s conducting.

Domingo is set to return to the Arena di Verona in 2023 and the Sindacato Lavoratori della Comunicazione, SLC is suggesting the gala become a tribute concert to Domingo instead of him performing. Domingo next performs in Seville and Oman.

Ricciarelli performed alongside Domingo at the Royal Opera House, Teatro alla Scala, and the Metropolitan Opera, among others. She recorded numerous operas with the tenor including “Luisa Miller,” Un Ballo in Maschera,” “Aida,” “Turandot,” “Don Carlos” and “Simon Boccanegra.”