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Lessons from the Maestro

Posted By: Randy GageNovember 16, 2011

We had a big gala for the Opera last night.  During the after party, I got the honor of dining with one of my heroes, the legendary Placido Domingo.  Of course he’s one of the greatest artists of all time, a brilliant conductor, a worldwide icon, and won 12 Grammys.  But there’s one thing I find the most fascinating…

Most opera singers at the world-class level are known for a few signature roles.  They find the ones that best match their language, style, and vocal range.  Then they make the circuit of the various opera houses around the world, sticking to their main roles.

Placido does 134. 

This is simply unheard of for someone operating at his level.  So I asked him what drove him to do that?  Did he get bored with being safe?  Does he do it because he seeks the challenge?  His answer was surprising.

“It’s nothing to do with challenge,” he said.  “I have passion for the music.  And even if I lived three lifetimes, I could never perform all the music I love!”

So what’s the lesson for you?

-RG

29 comments on “Lessons from the Maestro”

    1. Reading Randy's post reminded me of a past life.

      When I was a teenager I had a love for music that drove me to practice several hours a day. I would get up at 4.00 in the morning and prac late after school/work... it seemed effortless (although I did hate getting up early). I do not remember having to work at having this passion. I think I just had it.

      As a result I became a very accomplished musician. Unfortunately my aspirations to join a rock band were squashed by the large fundamentalist church I was born into (my father was the pastor and any sort of 'worldly' music was stickly forbidden - I even practiced with headphones on and hid my records when he was around)

      It is now many years later and I no longer belong to that cult. I recently tried to take up playing again but I don't have anywhere near the drive I once had.

      Have I lost it... or is it possible to re-kindle the love? How would I do that... or does it mean that moment has passed and I should move on???

      Anyone else willing to share their experience would be really appreciated if that is ok with Randy.

      1. I had similar issues.

        I'm more of a synthesizer/piano person.

        Highly religious father with Socialist anti-creativity views. Gay on top of it.

        Just turned 30 this September. I sometimes feel the way you do, that I am too old to succeed at it.

        30 isn't old, but youth is considered desirable to some audiences and marketers. It's that way for most things, but I am sure there is a way around it.

        However, with shows like the X-factor, America's Got Talent, The Voice, as well as the success of Susan Boyle, Sheryl Crow, and Andrea Boccelli, and the comeback of Kylie Minoque, who is in her 40s, people are becoming more accepting of the work rather than the number.

        Honestly, you're never going to have the "right" amount of something or other to please people.

        I think I'm still young enough to make a go of it, look young for my age, but I have to present myself a bit differently than an 18 year old would.

        If I am able to have the kind of impact I wish to have, I can stand as an example for late bloomers.

        Working on getting back into better shape too. While appearance is not everything, it's worth being fit for health reasons.

  1. Ben Heppner has been known to go for it.. tackling the challenging roles.. love the story Randy... but .. those 3 tenor things were pretty dispiriting.. but hey, we all got to make a buck...

  2. That is awesome...my dream is to have dinner with Andrea Bocelli one day...oh and of course Randy Gage 🙂 The lesson for me is that sometimes I feel tangential and there are so many things I want to do but I feel I should stick with what I feel most comfortable with. Maybe stepping out and taking that risk and doing what is outside my comfort zone is my what I need to do.

  3. Some people sing for the joy of being praised for how they sound so they stick to roles that they know showcase them well. Some people sing for the joy of sharing the music and they sing whatever music brings them joy. (and I suppose some people "got to make a buck" but I somehow don't think that was the motivator.)Do you do it for the love of praise or for the love of sharing the joy?

  4. What an incredible evening it must have been! Well, that says it all! It's about the passion! Find what you love and what your passionate about.....the rest will follow!

  5. When we truly find out Purpose and connect our Passion to it, magic happens. I have had glimpses of this, but am now on The Path to living it. The hours disappear and creativity flows. Energy rises and Joy is abundant.

    Living with Purpose and Passion is what being Human is about.. At least for me.

    Thanks Randy

  6. A truly wonderful man. Do you know he flew all the way to New Zealand for a special performance to raise funds for the Christchurch theatre flattened by last year's devastating earthquake.

  7. As Hemingway once said when asked how one knows they are a writer, he said, because you have to write; one can't stop themself from writing. Placido can't stop himself from performing. He has to do it. So the lesson, from my view, is what can't I stop from doing even if I wanted to stop?

  8. I think it means we have to expand our vocal ranges and sharpen our memories.

    Seriously, I think it means take as many opportunities as possible to experience doing the things you love. Don't limit experiences in life, it is all we have, especially the areas we are passionate about.

    For artists, I think is important to take on acting, singing, writing, painting, and whatever other challenges when they arise. Whatever your medium is, your soul needs the outlet.

  9. WOW - Impressive! My lesson from reading this is follow your passion and do what you love to do. Not just like but love. So we've really got to find exactly "that thing" we have a burning desire to do - You also wrote that a lot of times, how important that is.
    Thank's RG :)))

  10. I heard it said recently - some people work - some people at work are really at play - I can see Placido Domingo is at play! Brilliant.

    I keep focusing on 'playing' my passion at work.

    All the best to all,
    David

  11. im here in ECUADOR, in the Challenger cuidad de Guayaquil ATPworldtour, and tomorrow my BREAKTHROUG BEGINS!!!!!

    THANKS FOR ALL YOUR TEACHINGS MAESTRO RANDY!!

    =D

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  • 29 comments on “Lessons from the Maestro”

      1. Reading Randy's post reminded me of a past life.

        When I was a teenager I had a love for music that drove me to practice several hours a day. I would get up at 4.00 in the morning and prac late after school/work... it seemed effortless (although I did hate getting up early). I do not remember having to work at having this passion. I think I just had it.

        As a result I became a very accomplished musician. Unfortunately my aspirations to join a rock band were squashed by the large fundamentalist church I was born into (my father was the pastor and any sort of 'worldly' music was stickly forbidden - I even practiced with headphones on and hid my records when he was around)

        It is now many years later and I no longer belong to that cult. I recently tried to take up playing again but I don't have anywhere near the drive I once had.

        Have I lost it... or is it possible to re-kindle the love? How would I do that... or does it mean that moment has passed and I should move on???

        Anyone else willing to share their experience would be really appreciated if that is ok with Randy.

        1. I had similar issues.

          I'm more of a synthesizer/piano person.

          Highly religious father with Socialist anti-creativity views. Gay on top of it.

          Just turned 30 this September. I sometimes feel the way you do, that I am too old to succeed at it.

          30 isn't old, but youth is considered desirable to some audiences and marketers. It's that way for most things, but I am sure there is a way around it.

          However, with shows like the X-factor, America's Got Talent, The Voice, as well as the success of Susan Boyle, Sheryl Crow, and Andrea Boccelli, and the comeback of Kylie Minoque, who is in her 40s, people are becoming more accepting of the work rather than the number.

          Honestly, you're never going to have the "right" amount of something or other to please people.

          I think I'm still young enough to make a go of it, look young for my age, but I have to present myself a bit differently than an 18 year old would.

          If I am able to have the kind of impact I wish to have, I can stand as an example for late bloomers.

          Working on getting back into better shape too. While appearance is not everything, it's worth being fit for health reasons.

    1. Ben Heppner has been known to go for it.. tackling the challenging roles.. love the story Randy... but .. those 3 tenor things were pretty dispiriting.. but hey, we all got to make a buck...

    2. That is awesome...my dream is to have dinner with Andrea Bocelli one day...oh and of course Randy Gage 🙂 The lesson for me is that sometimes I feel tangential and there are so many things I want to do but I feel I should stick with what I feel most comfortable with. Maybe stepping out and taking that risk and doing what is outside my comfort zone is my what I need to do.

    3. Some people sing for the joy of being praised for how they sound so they stick to roles that they know showcase them well. Some people sing for the joy of sharing the music and they sing whatever music brings them joy. (and I suppose some people "got to make a buck" but I somehow don't think that was the motivator.)Do you do it for the love of praise or for the love of sharing the joy?

    4. What an incredible evening it must have been! Well, that says it all! It's about the passion! Find what you love and what your passionate about.....the rest will follow!

    5. When we truly find out Purpose and connect our Passion to it, magic happens. I have had glimpses of this, but am now on The Path to living it. The hours disappear and creativity flows. Energy rises and Joy is abundant.

      Living with Purpose and Passion is what being Human is about.. At least for me.

      Thanks Randy

    6. A truly wonderful man. Do you know he flew all the way to New Zealand for a special performance to raise funds for the Christchurch theatre flattened by last year's devastating earthquake.

    7. As Hemingway once said when asked how one knows they are a writer, he said, because you have to write; one can't stop themself from writing. Placido can't stop himself from performing. He has to do it. So the lesson, from my view, is what can't I stop from doing even if I wanted to stop?

    8. I think it means we have to expand our vocal ranges and sharpen our memories.

      Seriously, I think it means take as many opportunities as possible to experience doing the things you love. Don't limit experiences in life, it is all we have, especially the areas we are passionate about.

      For artists, I think is important to take on acting, singing, writing, painting, and whatever other challenges when they arise. Whatever your medium is, your soul needs the outlet.

    9. WOW - Impressive! My lesson from reading this is follow your passion and do what you love to do. Not just like but love. So we've really got to find exactly "that thing" we have a burning desire to do - You also wrote that a lot of times, how important that is.
      Thank's RG :)))

    10. I heard it said recently - some people work - some people at work are really at play - I can see Placido Domingo is at play! Brilliant.

      I keep focusing on 'playing' my passion at work.

      All the best to all,
      David

    11. im here in ECUADOR, in the Challenger cuidad de Guayaquil ATPworldtour, and tomorrow my BREAKTHROUG BEGINS!!!!!

      THANKS FOR ALL YOUR TEACHINGS MAESTRO RANDY!!

      =D

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