Placido Domingo takes issue with Washington Post critic

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On Saturday, the Post published a letter from Domingo in which the famed tenor takes issue with the newspaper’s music critic, Anne Midgette. In the letter, Domingo objects to the way Midgette criticized his conducting in a recent production 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.’

In her review, Midgette wrote that ‘all the performances [in ‘Tosca’] were hampered, indeed sabotaged, by the conducting ... rather than supporting the singers, his conducting either drowned them out or tripped them up. He got warm applause, but I’m not sure his presence sells enough tickets to make up for spoiling the evening.’

In his letter, Domingo asserted that Midgette’s criticisms were ‘offensive and defamatory.’


Midgette responded this past weekend to Domingo via her blog on the Washington Post’s website. She wrote that although she admires Domingo as a performer, she and others believe ‘his conducting is not at the same top-flight international standard as his singing.’ Domingo served as general director of the Washington National Opera for approximately 14 years before stepping down this summer. He still holds the post of general director at Los Angeles Opera, where he is scheduled to conduct a production of Gounod’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ in November.

During his long career, Domingo has juggled his singing appearances with various conducting jobs. In recent years, he has faced criticism that he is overextended and is an absentee leader.

Midgette has been the music critic of the Washington Post since 2008. Before that, she was a reviewer at the New York Times, where she covered the Metropolitan Opera and other classical-music institutions.


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-- David Ng