Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bach's St. John Passion from a minimalist Musica Angelica

Musica Angelica at First Methodist Church, Santa Monica
Photo: Laura Spino

Bach: St John Passion
Musica Angelica - Martin Haselböck, conductor
First United Methodist Church of Santa Monica
Sunday, March 28, 2010, 4 pm

by Rodney Punt

For Musica Angelica, L.A.’s homegrown, often cash-strapped early music ensemble, necessity can be the mother of a two-part invention. Or, in the case of J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion, an eight-person chorus. Mind you, the choristers had other responsibilities. They were also the soloists.

The “historically informed ensemble” backed up their slender choral department with no less than nineteen “authentic original and recreated instruments of the Baroque era.” The imbalance between singers and instrumentalists was a measure of the organization’s musical priorities in our current era of limits.

Under the direction of music director Martin Haselböck, the intrepid band and its outmatched choir took on the profound rigors of Bach’s “other” passion in a performance that was probably not far off the skimpily complemented one Bach had to cobble together for its premiere at his "other" church, the St. Nikolas in Leipzig. I caught Musica Angelica’s second performance in the cavernous First Methodist Church of Santa Monica on Sunday afternoon.

Like the St. Matthew, its more famous apostolic sibling, the St. John is both overtly dramatic and inwardly pietistic in its ritual story telling of the betrayal and death of Jesus of Nazareth. Dramatic narration is alternated with contemporary reflections in the chorales, emphasizing personal responsibility for human sin. Modern performances face the squeamish issue of frequent reference to Jewish culpability in the death of Jesus, but it seems in his setting, Bach, more than his most of his contemporaries, focused the guilt and potential for salvation on all humanity.

In the performance, the eight singers were more effective as soloists than as a pick-up choir. A ninth singer, tenor Tilman Lichdi, assigned the heavy load of the Evangelist role along with most of the tenor arias, was relieved of choir duties altogether. Lichdi, in fact, made the strongest impression of the day, easily essaying the stratospheric demands of his narration as well as the impassioned reflections of arias like Ach, mein Sinn (Ah, my soul).

Michael Dean’s deep, oaken-hued baritone gave spiritual authority to the relatively small role of Jesus. Just the kind of fellow you want around for heavenly hosting, it was a pity his only other task was choral singing. He would have been far better employed in the bass arias assigned to Scott Graff, whose unfocused baritone never found a vocal footing that afternoon.

Ian Howell’s light countertenor was pretty in the sparsely accompanied numbers like Es ist vollbracht (It is accomplished) but overbalanced by the oboes and other instruments in Von den Stricken meiner Sünden (From the bonds of my sins). Soprano Mary Wilson dissolved some afternoon hearts with her aria, Zerfliesse, mein Herz. The rest of the soloists dispatched their duties adequately.

As suggested before, the main problem with the performance was in the balance between choral and instrumental forces. In this struggle, clear enunciation was not helped by the peculiar acoustics of First Methodist Church. It is one of those halls where the message comes over loud but not clear. The room favors the mid and lower sound spectrum to the detriment of higher ranges. This tends to favor tonal vowels over message-defining consonants.

Add to this factor an instrumental ensemble that, for all its historic veracity in lighter textured colors, puts out quite a voluminous orchestral blanket, more so in this hall. Even when the skimpy choir is placed in front of the band, as in Sunday’s configuration, it was difficult to hear the story mid all the musical fury.

Haselböck led the combined forces - the above balance issue notwithstanding - with his customary stylish attention to detail, moving the proceedings along at a proper Baroque lilt. Notable was his handling of the dramatic moments, often with complex choral counterpoint, in such numbers as Bist du nicht seiner Jünger einer? (Are you not one of his disciples?) and the wonderful melismatic moments in Pontius Pilate’s scourges and Peter’s denial music shortly thereafter.

Quite apart from the performance, it was instructive to be exposed once again to the theology behind the music drama of Bach’s passion settings. The moral message in his time was not to point historical blame without reflecting on contemporary personal responsibility. How different in tone from the finger-pointing whining that passes for Christian behavior in so many regions of our country today.

Where’s the humility? Where’s the humanity? Listen to Bach.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Hanns Eisler in Hollywood - a tribute to the composer

Hanns Eisler and Bertold Brecht in the DDR

Hanns Eisler in Hollywood
Friday March 26, St. Matthew's Church
Saturday, March 27, Villa Aurora
Pacific Palisades, California

by Rodney Punt

Pity the Austro-German creative intellectual at mid-twentieth century. If he isn’t shackled, or worse, by the Nazis for Leftist politics or for being Jewish, he is lucky to escape his native country within a whisker of his life. Arriving at the sanctuary of American shores during the Second World War, he enjoys but a few years’ safety only to be branded and revictimized after the war by McCarthyism, the USA’s homegrown version of fascism. Then he gets deported back to the nightmare of a devastated Europe that had sent him packing in the first place.

Such was the fate of the German-born, Austrian-trained composer Hanns Eisler, once a promising pupil of composer Arnold Schoenberg in Vienna. Moving to Berlin, he became friendly with Bertolt Brecht from 1930, under whose influence he composed in a style akin to the visual arts' socialist-realism. It created a painful rift with modernist visionary Schoenberg.

Years later and settled in Los Angeles, Eisler lived not far from Brecht’s home in Santa Monica and Schoenberg’s in Brentwood. Now reconciled with his former teacher, he composed distinguished film music from 1942 to 1948, two scores of which were Oscar-nominated.

In his spare time he wrote a collection of 47 fascinating songs, loosely assembled under the title Hollywood Songbook. A performance of these songs became the emotional center of a two-day tribute to the composer this past weekend. It was organized by the Villa Aurora Foundation, housed in the former home of émigré writer Lion Feuchtwanger in Pacific Palisades, and now a center for artist residencies sponsored by the German government.

In the afternoon prior to the Saturday evening performance, a panel discussion lent insight into Eisler’s Hollywood experience. UCLA German professor John McCumber sketched a harrowing account of Eisler’s run-in with the U.S. House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC).

In addition to the composer’s well-known communist sympathies, there were extenuating family circumstances that hardly aided Eisler’s cause – a brother, Gerhart Eisler, who was a likely Cominterm agent, and their Trotskyite sister, Ruth Fischer, who turned state’s evidence against her brothers. With help from siblings like these an already tainted émigré was toast in the post-war paranoia of the USA. He was on his way to a deportation in 1948.

Eisler’s various troubles, beginning already in 1942, were productively sublimated into creative output. He worked out some of his frustrations, from May 1942 through December 1943, composing, on the run but hardly haphazardly, the songs that would become his Hollywood Songbook. (For the troubled Eisler, it was .... a long, long while from May to December?)

All of Eisler’s influences and troubles came to bear in these songs: his own bitter experiences, the sarcastic polemics of Brecht, timeless works of classic German poets like Goethe, Hölderlin, and Mörike, as well as the musical influences of popular song, vernacular music of the communist movement, European art music, and even the high-minded, modernist 12-tone system of Schoenberg he had studied in his youth.

In this seeming miscellany, Eisler emerges as a modern master of both the German lied and the American art song. (I had the privilege of hearing a young Matthias Goerne sing them at Hollywood’s Temple Israel in 1998, recorded that year on the Decca label. Highly recommended.)

Kristina Driskill and Mark Robson at the Ernst Toch Blüthner piano. Photo: Michael Blum

The Villa Aurora’s living room was an appropriate Saturday evening setting for 31 of the 47 Hollywood songs, performed stunningly by mezzo-soprano Kristina Driskill, a relative unknown in these parts (hopefully to be corrected with more performances) and the very well known Mark Robson, performing on the Blüthner piano once owned by another émigré composer, Ernst Toch.

The two ably portrayed the creative range under Eisler’s command, from expressionistic angst and bitterness to bemused irony and light-hearted humor. It is this sweep within Eisner’s eclectic nature that makes the composer so eminently listenable today.

The purely expressionistic side of Eisner’s orchestral music had been given an earlier airing by the afternoon’s visiting panel from Germany. Johannes Gall of Hamburg and Horst Weber of Essen discussed the musical setting of a scene in John Ford’s film, The Grapes of Wrath, where the Joad family abandons Oklahoma in favor of the promise of California.

Two clips were screened, the first using the Alfred Newman score that so effectively features the American folksong, Red River Valley, as a nostalgic symbol of the past lives of the Joad’s motley crew as they load on their westward-bound jalopy. The second features an expressionistic, Mahler-drenched overlay of Eisler’s music on the same scene.

While Gall and his entourage found the Eisler more appropriate to the oppressive social conditions of the time, I expressed a contrarian opinion that in this instance the story of these simple folk would have been overwhelmed with Eisler’s European-derived score, both an unidiomatic aesthetic and one that forces too complex a political agenda on the scene. (I was pleased that music critic Mark Swed happened to agree in his article in the LA Times today.)

The two-day Eisler celebration had begun on Friday evening at St. Matthew’s Church in Pacific Palisades, only a short walk to the office of Belmont Music, home to Arnold Schoenberg’s legacy business interests. The church’s Music Director, Thomas Neenan, conducted a lively performance of Eisler’s charming and witty Septet No. 2. Composed in 1947, its blithe spirit belies the troubles the composer was facing as he prepared a reluctant departure from Los Angeles.

Also on the program: the lovely Schoenberg arrangement of Gustav Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer (topical, given Eisler's peregrinations), and Aaron Copland's chamber version of his Appalachian Spring Suite. (Copland, by the way, had courageously stood up for Eisler when he was under attack by the political establishment in our country.)

An ironic last offering of Eisler’s music came later in the program, a song composed in 1957, inconsequential of itself, but a cute slap in the face of the hostile country that had exiled him for the second time in his life. Addressed to the then hyper-hawkish American Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, it was entitled simply: Sputnik.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ian Bostridge and Julius Drake conjure Schubert’s Winterreise

Ian Bostridge

Wednesday, March 24 at 8 pm
UCLA Live! performing arts series
Royce Hall, UCLA, Los Angeles

By Rodney Punt

Winterreise, as performed by tenor Ian Bostridge and pianist Julius Drake in their debuts last evening at UCLA's Royce Hall, is a disturbing, theatrical psychodrama set to music.

Bostridge makes one thing clear from the beginning of his performance - actually before the beginning: no matter how many times we have heard the song cycle, we have never before encountered this particular “traveling horn player.” You see it in the odd stance he assumes when he and Drake take their initial places. Impossibly tall and lanky already, Bostridge does not so much stand in front of the piano as hover over it, birdlike and elongated, in a fixed gaze. It’s the look of a giant crane waiting for swimming prey.

Somewhere you have seen this bird-like human before, but it doesn’t quite hit you until the first few songs fly by. Then you recognize the lanky youth. It’s Bostridge channeling Tony Perkins as Norman Bates. Here is where the discomfort sets in.

Our concept of the protagonist-as-victim in Winterreise has been turned on its head. We are accustomed to rooting for a dejected itinerant musician who introduces himself as “a stranger I came, a stranger I depart.” His sorrow stems from a ladylove who has turned down his ardent proposal of marriage.

But the fellow in this Winterreise is immediately perceived as mentally off-balance, in a Shakespearian King Lear sense, both victim and perpetrator of his own tragedy. There is probably a valid reason why the mother of his inamorata suddenly changes her mind from initial notions of marrying her daughter off to him. This fellow clearly marches to the beat of his own drummer, and the drummer is marching him off a cliff. The line between demented and demonic is blurred.

Bostridge’s character moves about like a wounded lunatic – eyes glancing sideways, body swooping, spinning, levitating, in effect flying down the story to the audience. He lives, even at the start of his journey, in a detached, alternate reality. We are not comfortable being afraid of a victim we thought we were supposed to pity, but it is oddly exhilarating to be swept along on his inexorable slide into oblivion.

Comfort is, of course, the last thing Bostridge and Drake want us to feel.

Bostridge the singer takes liberties with vocalization. His natural vocal palate tends to the silvery bright, far from opulent or plummy yet capable of powerful projection. In this performance he keeps that power in reserve for the big moments. Vocal lines are delivered in declamatory stabs; the volume can vary from soft to loud in the span of a few words, the voice coloring is often dry and vibrato-less. Yet he can and does float his beautiful soap bubble tones when the mood requires. Singing seems not for its own pretty sake, but presumably at the noble service of story telling.

The musical atmospherics provided by pianist Drake come in heavy, exaggerated effects: over-stressed accents, elongated phrases, unexpectedly rushed passages, distorted tempos, and long silent pauses at critical moments. This, along with an overall brisk delivery, is not accident but the residue of design. It is the atmosphere of madness, mixed with painful, wrenching tragedy. Drake conjures up this world with a magician’s touch and a poet’s articulation.

There is a danger in turning the itinerant horn player into a demented personality. It threatens to evaporate the sympathy of the audience for his lonely plight. The danger is similar to that of Die Schöne Müllerin, where modern performances often treat the romance of the wandering boy and the miller’s daughter as a fancy of his imagination, diluting the tension of actual rivalry for the maiden’s attentions with the intruding hunter lad.

If based only on a fancy, is the delusion of the miller boy felt as tragically as a real failed romance? Likewise of Winterreise, is the rejection and ultimate depression of a mentally imbalanced man as empathetically pitiable as that of a sane one? These questions are not answered, nor necessarily need they be here.

Here is a performance that breathes new life into the occasionally congealed tradition of the stone-sober, plodding Winterreise. It uncovers fresh insights into the mind-set of the enigmatic protagonist and his strange visions. It raises questions about the relationship of obsession and madness. It messes with us.

One gauge of success: the audience was on the edge of its seats for the full 69 minutes of shock and awe. (Clapping after the first song indicated many who did not know the protocol of song cycle performance – a good sign of new audiences testing the waters, but also an annoying intrusion, a spell momentarily broken.)

It was a Winterreise stretched to the breaking point of inherited musical tradition – perhaps not to everyone’s taste, but never boring and always provocative - a performance at once bracing, riveting, and effective.

Of how many song recitals can that be said today?

Background on Winterreise

Franz Schubert’s Winterreise is, by most accounts, the Mount Everest of song cycles. Its narrative depicts the solitary walk of a despondent man, away from a town of his rejected love and toward another of ominous portent. Brooding on themes of alienation and death, the poetic imagery is dark, the musical atmospherics stark.

It is tempting to ascribe Schubert’s autobiographical circumstances – he had contracted syphilis in 1822 - as the prime motivation for the songs. But it was a contemporaneous poet who never met the composer, the Dessau-born Wilhelm Müller, who wrote and published 24 poems between 1823 and 1824, hoping a musician of talent would set them. Müller’s earlier Die schöne Müllerin poems had in fact already inspired a Schubert song cycle.

But the Winterreise poems chimed even more deeply with Schubert’s state of mind. And it was the composer who would immortalize them, tellingly reorganizing their order and ennobling their natural, even naïve imagery with a fusion of poignant melody, daring harmony, and varied but inexorable rhythm. With a mystical hand he bestowed upon the cycle an unsurpassed, penetrating psychological intensity.

When Schubert previewed the songs for his friends in late 1827, they hadn’t a clue what to make of them. Where were the spring flowers, the swimming trout and summer romances that graced so many of the composer’s earlier songs? Even the ultimately tragic miller songs of four years before had begun with happy prospects.

Schubert told his friends they would eventually take to the songs. His death a year later at age 31 brought the emotional landscape of these strange melodies into sharp focus. Winterreise soon established itself as the ultimate musical catharsis for those who have loved and lost, or who must face their deaths unfulfilled.

Bostridge in Los Angeles

There are some things a young singer can master only through experience. One is coming to terms with Franz Schubert’s song cycle, Winterreise. Another is how to deal with jet lag. Both of these lessons are, of course, associated with long journeys.

Tenor Ian Bostridge had essayed Winterreise early in his career, achieving a certain youthful acclaim with it in London as early as 1993. Hearing from LA Opera impresario Peter Hemmings the buzz surrounding the then 29-year-old singer, I had quickly booked him for a couple of live radio broadcasts over KUSC-FM, and arranged a private recital in Santa Monica. The public concerts were to be part of 1994’s UK/LA Festival and Bostridge’s U.S. debut.

Alas, the Fates intervened. The unseasoned traveler, shortly after booking with us, had a nasty surprise encounter with jet lag at his first North American performance in Toronto. Thrown for a loop, he cancelled his L.A. engagements to regain his bearings in London and consider how to handle this scourge of the traveler.

Last evening the silver lining in the enforced 16-year wait to hear Ian Bostridge sing Winterreise in L.A. finally glistened, courtesy of the performing arts series, UCLA Live!. Behind him now is a nearly two-decade relationship with the cycle - recitals and recordings, including theatrical enactments on film and video.

Experience has been a good teacher. It was evident in every gesture of the singer and his pianist that theatrical elements in their film and video productions had crept into the recital. At 45 years of age and at a vocal peak, Bostridge demonstrated no longer a youthful singer’s precocity, but a mature - if also a highly idiosyncratic - command of the bleak terrain in Winterreise.

Spooky Coincidences

Bostridge is also a scholar of the occult, holding a doctorate from Oxford and authoring an influential book, Witchcraft and its Transformations 1650 to 1750, which deals with the transition from dark superstition to scientific rationalism in English public life as it entered the pre-Enlightenment period of European history.

Your humble scribe can relate to that, as his many-generations before grandmother, the then 71-year-old Rebecca Nurse, was wrongfully accused and hung as a witch in 1692 in Salem, Massachusetts, at that time very much an English colony right in the middle of Bostridge’s book subject and timeframe. I shared that grisly piece of history with the singer last evening after the performance, to his wide-eyed surprise. 

You just never know the skeletons one has in one’s closet.

The Rear Guard

If art has an avant-garde, Clement Greenberg once famously said, it must also have a rear guard. That rear guard is kitsch, and its leading practitioner of kitsch in Los Angeles today is J Michael Walker. Above is his sanctifying portrait of Gustavo Dudamel, manipulating the shell of the Hollywood Bowl to outfit The Dude in a mandorla of grace.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ian Bostridge to sing Schubert’s Winterreise

Ian Bostridge.

Wednesday, March 24 at 8 pm
UCLA’s Royce Hall

SPECIAL OFFER - Good news for LA Opus readers. UCLA Live is offering a 25% discount to our readers for this performance. Click here: UCLALive! and use the password WINTERREISE to get your discounted tickets.

by Rodney Punt

It was 1994, and the British government was rolling out a cultural promotion in Los Angeles known as the UK/LA Festival. As a manager at the City's Cultural Affairs Department, I was looking for an interesting program for a radio show we produced on KUSC-FM. LA Opera's then director Peter Hemmings turned me on a young singer who just months before had created quite a stir with Franz Schubert's song cycle Winterreise (Winter Journey) at London’s Wigmore Hall.

And so I booked the 29-year-old Ian Bostridge, a tenor then unknown outside of England, to sing the same work here. We were encouraged to take a chance on him in part because he and his piano accompanist, Andrew West, were supported by a foundation in England devoted to young artists. (The UK's robust public support for the arts during the last century is one of the reasons it is a world leader in music today.)

But something seemed a little strange to me. Making an initial mark with these brooding, world-weary songs of Schubert was not the usual path for a young lyric tenor. Why not the composer's earlier and lighter-textured Die schöne Müllerin? (Bostridge was indeed soon to make an award-winning recording of Die schöne Müllerin on the Hyperion label with pianist Graham Johnson in 1996. It is one of the highlights of Johnson's formidable recording project of all the Schubert songs.)

Though originally written for a tenor voice, as was the earlier cycle, Winterreise had long been favored by baritones. And seasoned ones at that. Hans Hotter and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau had each created definitive interpretations in their glory days. Could a mere novice like Ian Bostridge make a convincing case at so tender an age in this darkest of song cycles?

Alas, I was not to have my curiosity satisfied then, as Bostridge had to cancel due to illness. I have waited a long sixteen years for the opportunity to hear him live in this work. In the meantime, he has gone on to world-wide fame, including performances of other works in Los Angeles with the LA Phil. Today he is among a handful of the world's most renowned tenors.

Next week Bostridge makes his Royce Hall debut singing, by most accounts, the greatest song cycle in Western music. He will be accompanied by frequent piano collaborator, Julius Drake, himself a major talent in the world of song. The long wait may just prove a blessing in disguise. At age 45, Bostridge is at a career peak and has experienced a lot more of life and its challenges. He - and we - are ready for his Winterreise at this winter's end in Los Angeles.

Don't miss the opportunity to see and hear this profoundly moving work as interpreted by these two splendid artists.

CURIOSITY - Bostridge is distantly related to author James Joyce. I have forfeited the usual pint at an Irish bar this evening in order to post this on Saint Patrick's Day. Ah, the sacrifices we make for music!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dancers and Peacocks

LA Ballet's Mr. B outdoes "Kings of the Dance"

by Donna Perlmutter

So what was it that captured Southern California’s dance buffs recently – other than the Olympian figure skaters? Try a sub rosa contest between women in tulle tutus and men as fierce fugitives from all that feathery ephemera. But it looks like Balanchine had it right -- Ballet is Woman -- when he gave the nod to the so-called fairer sex.

The rivals, as it were, came in the form of Los Angeles Ballet in an all-Balanchine program -- masterworks that keep the universal standard aloft – and a touring show dubbed “Kings of the Dance,” replete with enough bare-torso beefcake to get Chippendales’ fans whistling, if not the rest of us.

The winner, first. LA Ballet, a newly-minted troupe now in its fourth season (and not to be confused with John Clifford’s plucky enterprise of several decades ago), comes with impeccable credentials: Colleen Neary, bred at New York City Ballet and a muse to the master himself, together with the Royal Danish Ballet’s Thordal Christensen, co-directs the company. And so far, each outing has brought the artistic level to a higher plane. Angelenos may get an enduring dance resident yet – one befitting the alleged entertainment capital of the world.

Shrewd recruitment, tip-top coaching and canny casting paid off in these latest performances of three Balanchine classics. “Serenade,” the first ballet Mr. B. made after landing on these shores back in 1934, is, was and, arguably, will always be the work that can bring tears to the eyes, so earnest and sincere and filled with poetic imagery is it.

Think of the young Balanchine, besotted with his studio full of ballet beauties, beckoning them to help forge his art, with his Tchaikovsky, into an autobiographical dream. What we get is a vision of tulle-skirted acolytes, their eyes misty, looking heaven-ward. They mark the Russian creators’ impulse of elegant yearning. They sweep by in a complex of swooning configurations until the end, when the blindfolded man is led by his muse, and followed by another, with the first one having fallen and languishing on the floor, on to the finale where she is borne aloft to the wings.

Melissa Barak (left) became the heart and soul of Balanchine’s reverie. Not one who just does the steps perfectly, but gets inside and infuses them with feeling -- subtly, organically -- thus telling us where they come from. And in “Kammermusik No. 2,” mirroring Hindemith’s score with its jaunty and sharp angularities, she changes form and feeling to meet the vehement occasion with the same degree of attunement. Although your eyes can’t help but go to her, the rest of the company revels in its pristine performances.

Meanwhile the “Kings” proved not to reflect that inspired group of Ted Shawn men at Jacob’s Pillow, back in the 1930s when the queen of barefoot dance, Martha Graham, was busy idolizing and choreographing for the brawny Erick Hawkins et al. Nor do they boast the star-power or the chops of those Three Tenors, whose gimmick may have teased these ballet producers with big-time fantasies of lucre. But in the end, their effort at showy masculinity, with little artistic context, made for mere display.

Yes, it helped somewhat that the bill of fare was high-minded enough to include a Christopher Wheeldon piece (though not a particularly memorable one), set to Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” String Quartet, that shattering music that Woody Allen used to far greater effect in “Crimes and Misdemeanors.” (Remember the scene where Martin Landau returns to Anjelica Huston’s apartment to find her murdered, lying on the floor, eyes open? It gets its drama from the score’s agitated passages.)

And there was Ashton’s “Dance of the Blessed Spirits,” for the fair, noble, relatively unmuscled “King” of the court, David Hallberg. The other assorted solos began to look like more of the same – beautiful men striking poses that showed off their sinew and fine form to moody modern music and mostly lit from above.

Joaquin de Luz, an Eddy Villella type, scorned the body modeling; in his loose shirt and baggy trousers he danced as though the music flowed through him, in every example. He owned it. It owned him. His characterizations exploded on the stage. The same could hardly be said for Desmond Richardson, who seems perpetually bound in Dwight Roden’s acrobatic traps – designed to spot his textbook musculature, with skin oiled to catch the light in nearly naked exhibition. Please, god, let the man just dance.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Placido Domingo has polyp removed

Superstar tenor Placido Domingo has been discharged from Mt. Sinai hospital in New York City after having had a localized malignant polyp removed from his colon, his publicist disclosed this morning.

If his recovery goes well, Placido will return to the stage in Milan April 16.