an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me | Advertise | Follow me:

Who’s paying for Domingo’s new party in Andalucia?

The co-owner of IMG Artists, Barrett Wissman, has announced an inaugural Placido Domingo Festival to take place in Sevilla and Malaga, from October 25 to November 3.

Wissman, as we seldom fail to point out, is a self-confessed fraudster. This summer he took the near-bankrupt city of Florence for a ride for half a million Euros.

So who’s paying for his new show in even more bankrupt Andalucia?

Local journalists should start asking questions. They might also ask why, of all the good cellists in the world, the only ones to be engaged are the wives of Barrett Wissman and Pinchas Zukerman? And why has Domingo let himself be hitched to this dodgy bandwaggon?

Press release follows.


24th September, 2012

25th OCTOBER – 3rd NOVEMBER, 2012
24th September 2012 – Plácido Domingo and IMG Artists are delighted to announce the first edition of the Plácido Domingo Festival, taking place in Seville and Malaga from 25th October until 3rd November, 2012.  Chosen by Maestro Domingo for its rich operatic and cultural heritage, the Andalucían region will play host to a feast of  performances featuring high profile stars from the operatic and concert platforms including  Vittorio Grigolo,  Ana María Martínez, Joaquín AchúcarroÁngel RomeroNino Machaidze,Micaëla Oeste, Angel Blue, Pinchas ZukermanDanielle de Niese, Nina Kotova and Ivo Pogorelich.
The Festival opens on 25th October at the Maestranza Theatre in Seville with a fully-staged production of Massenet’s Thaïs.   The performance stars Plácido as Athanael alongside sopranos Nino Machaidze and Micaëla Oeste, accompanied by Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla, conducted by their Artistic Director Pedro Halffter.   Further performances take place on 28th and 31st October.The Real Alcázar in Seville provides a majestic setting for four exclusive chamber concerts, scheduled to take place in the Salón de los Tapices.  On 27th October, one of the world’s preeminent violinists, Pinchas Zukerman, performs with his trio, featuring pianist Angela Cheng and cellist Amanda Forsyth.  This is followed by a concert with the legendary Spanish guitar virtuoso Ángel Romero and celebrated Russian cellist Nina Kotova on 29th October.  Danielle de Niese – “Opera’s coolest soprano” (The New York Times) – is accompanied by Cameron Stowe on the 30th, before closing with a jazz evening featuring the talented young sopranos and Operalia prize winners Micaëla Oeste and Angel Blue on 1st November.

In Malaga, the Teatro Cervantes hosts an Opera Gala on 26th October.  Conducted by Maestro Domingo, dynamic tenor Vittorio Grigolo and Grammy® award winning soprano Ana María Martínez will be joined by Romero and accompanied by the Orquesta Filarmónica de Málaga.  On 28th October, Zukerman performs the Bruch: Violin Concerto No.1 and Joaquín Achúcarro plays Falla’s Noches en los Jardines de España, again with the Orquesta Filarmónica de Málaga, conducted by its Music Director, Edmon Colomer.

Ivo Pogorelich performs Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 2 on 2nd and 3rd November, at the Maestranza in Seville, with the Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla conducted by Halffter.

Plácido Domingo said:  “I am thrilled that such wonderful and highly accomplished guest artists will join me for my inaugural festival.  These will be my first performances in the culturally rich and historically important cities of Seville and Malaga in a number of years, and I am hugely excited at the prospect of returning there, as well as establishing my own festival in my beloved homeland.  I hope the festival will bring attention to Andalucía, a beautiful and evocative region of Spain that has played such an important part in operatic storytelling.”

Barrett Wissman, from IMG Artists, said, “I am delighted to partner with Maestro Plácido Domingo in this new and exciting cultural initiative.  The impact that he has made on the global cultural landscape is nothing short of phenomenal as a singer, conductor and administrator.  My partner Alex Shustorovich and I are deeply honoured to be establishing a festival under Maestro Domingo’s patronage. The support and enthusiasm with which the festival has been greeted within Andalucía reflects the passion the people have for Maestro Domingo and his artistry.  We are also very grateful for the support that our presenting partners, the Maestranza Theatre, Orquesta Filarmónica de Málaga, the Real Orquesta Sinfónica de Sevilla, and the Real Alcázar have given us, as well as the support of the cities of Seville and Malaga.”

For further information, including how to purchase tickets,
please visit:
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Well, the festival doesn’t seem to address a local audience:

    Any further questions?

    • Piers Hellens says:

      actually, when I click the spanish link, it comes up in spanish. what are you talking about?

      • OK, seems they finally managed to set up the Spanish version. When I posted my comment four days ago, the Spanish link was only leading to the placeholder.

  2. Piers Hellens says:

    thanks, Norman. Always the investigative mind! One correction , however: the city of Florence didn’t
    invest in the florence festival. It was sponsored by commercial and private sponsors and thats their business.
    In Seville, the festival has no support from the city or region at all as I just asked my contact at IMG Artists.

    • On the contrary, the mayor of Florence was heavily involved.

      • Piers Hellens says:

        again, the mayor may have been involved in one way or another, but they city didn’t invest anything
        monetarily in the event. I am not arguing with your general point, but the facts are just wrong.

    • Perhaps the Mayor was involved in helping raise private funds? This would be positive, if tourists are lured to the area. Perhaps this is also why all is being done in English.

  3. Wissman pleaded guilty to at least one felony charge.

    Because of that, I thought he had to remove himself from IMG, part of his plea agreement with the Feds.

    Is he still running the show from behind the scenes? The U.S. Attorney will not like this.

  4. Is this a new trend to name a festival after it’s artistic director? I don’t remember such obvious narcissistic marketing pornography in the past. Or which festivals were there in the past named after their artistic leaders?

  5. Most possibilly this is another money laundering excercise. You set up a festival, you run heavy losses (many unsold seats, high artists fees etc) and you have set up the operation. In the opera business many of the top artists are continually seeking new ways in how to pay less taxes….

  6. Victoria Clarke says:

    Maybe his best friend Kaff can shell out some tax exempt euros?

  7. Well, this is a very interesting, article and comments. I saw about this festival via my Google Alert for Placido Domingo and did wonder why he should be involving himself in yet one more festival/event. But I also thought that it was very short notice for anyone to arrange travel plans, accommodation etc. I am in New Zealand so wouldn’t have a chance anyway but I have been to Seville very often and it sounded a wonderful idea. But now you have me looking at it a bit suspiciously.

  8. Piers Hellens says:

    never heard of a festival with a person in the title? Have you ever heard of the Casals festival???? one of the
    most important in history with a glorious archive as well. The idea of a great artist bringing together friends and
    great artists isn’t new and can work.

    the money laundering argument is absurd. If the money is lost because of bad sales or paying high fees to
    artists, how is it being laundered? There is no money on the other end after the laundry!

    This is way too complicated. Nothing new will ever start today with attitudes like this. No wonder culture is
    in a world of hurt.

    in this festival, there is no public funding and the mayor had nothing to do with it at all.

an ArtsJournal blog