Saturday, October 8, 2011

Domingo, Midgette, and the Definition of "Sabotage"

Evidently Placido Domingo, whose first language is Spanish, and who is not a professional writer, has a better grasp of the English language than Washington Post classical music critic Anne Midgette. In this review of Washington National Opera's Tosca production, Midgette wrote that Domingo "sabotaged" the performance:
All the performances were hampered, indeed sabotaged, by the conducting. Placido Domingo, appearing for the first time since stepping down as general director, is a wonderful singer. But rather than supporting the singers, his conducting either drowned them out or tripped them up.
And in this letter to the editor, Domingo protested that, "an act of sabotage is a destructive act done on purpose. Her remark suggests not only that I “spoiled” the performances but that I did so intentionally. This is unconscionable." Midgette responded on the newspaper's website without directly addressing Domingo's central point. Indeed, her evasive reply didn't even reference the term "sabotage," which connotes deliberate intent.  It's one thing to say that Domingo's an incompetent conductor, but that doesn't mean his intentions are nefarious.  Midgette should have at least showed a little contrition, no?

Here, Midgette moderates a conversation with several opera-world luminaries:

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