Stand-and-sing aria programs are usually of iffy value. But whittled down to their best moments in a 48-minutes program, Great Arias With Placido Domingo and Friends, is surprisingly enjoyable. The performances included here are drawn from Classic Aid II, a benefit concert held at UNESCO, in Paris, to raise money for the world’s 12 million refugees.
This is a fairly democratic production; the five singers on the bill sing an aria each. The nominal stars, Placido Domingo and Shirley Verrett, also appear in a duet — a finely balanced, suitably tense account of ”Non sono tuo figlio,” from Verdi’s Il Trovatore. Domingo also conducts a supple reading of an aria from Verdi’s Don Carlos, sung by Wang Yan Yan, a promising young soprano.
Included here are Domingo’s passionate ”Quando le sere al placido,” from Verdi’s Luisa Miller and Verrett’s tattered but affecting ”Vissi d’arte,” from Puccini’s Tosca. Barbara Hendricks’ aria from Puccini’s Suor Angelica is one of the more graceful moments. And Simon Estes contributes a powerful rendering of Iago’s ”Credo,” from Verdi’s Otello. B