She in her turn recalls seeing him in Otello at the Mariinsky in the '80s. "After the show, I'll never forget hundreds of people storming the stage! Past all the guards! And Placido stood there, barefoot, in a nightshirt - the closing scene of Otello takes place in Desdemona's bedroom - and calmly signed autographs. It was horrendously cold, it went on forever, but he had a look and a word for everyone. Phenomenal."
We all know you can find a discount code for anything at ENO if you look hard enough, though usually they get other organisations to spread the news. This time they're doing the dirty work themselves, via a mailing to selected customers (of which I was not one, so thanks to reader Cat for forwarding).
I can't recommend the show to anyone except diehard McBurney/Complicite fans. If you're tempted though, I would strongly suggest going for the most central and forward seats you can find, otherwise you'll miss some bits.
Under the slogan Viva Verdi! Es lebe Wagner! Barcelona's central shopping area has been divided into composer-themed zones. Shoppers will be treated to a Valkyrie horseback parade, a big-screen montage of Verdi and Wagner choruses, and even a spot of live opera.
Beaming down from the Bavarian State Opera on Sunday night (1Dec) is Die Frau ohne Schatten. Krzysztof Warlikowski's new production (less racy than the still above might hint) features Johan Botha, Adrianne Pieczonka, Deborah Polaski, Wolfgang Koch and Elena Pankratova, with Kirill Petrenko conducting.
Someone who won't melt under the star wattage of Netrebko and Domingo. Someone who can nail those top Cs. And most importantly, someone reliable who'll stay the course. Two tenors before opening night is plenty enough.
Step forward Gaston Rivero, a finalist in Domingo's 2006 Operalia contest who's sung Manrico in Klagenfurt, Nuremburg, Limoges and, as you can hear above, Bordeaux.