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Disc review: Placido Domingo, “Encanto del Mar”

Classical/pop

Placido Domingo

Encanto del Mar (Mediterranean Songs)

[Sony Classical]

Three stars

Inside every singer with a big voice there seems to be a little voice, demanding a pop project. Domingo, one of the great voices of our time, is accompanied on this disc by a small cafe ensemble: guitar, cello, bass, harp, percussion, occasional saxophone and bandoneon. One of the songs is “Aranjuez,” based on the beautiful concerto by Rodrigo, and Domingo also sings “En Mediterranee,” by Georges Moustaki, the French/Greek writer of romantic songs. There are also traditional Cyprian and Catalan songs. Domingo has it over other opera singers tackling pop projects in that his voice, in this setting, isn’t annoying. He has a tremendous feel for the music, and the songs sound great in his rich voice, especially when as you listen you feast your eyes on the pictures of him on the beach. It’s frustrating, though, that the songs give his voice no workout at all. Most songs have a range of just a few notes and you are sitting there thinking, this man can sing Wotan! So it is kind of a waste, like admiring a greyhound just sitting there in a little cage. But it’s pretty all the same.

– Mary Kunz Goldman

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