Saturday, November 29, 2008

Placido Domingo unveils pope CD

Spanish tenor Placido Domingo on Friday presented an album of songs based on poems written by late Pope John Paul II.

The album, 'Infinite Love', contains 12 works including celebrations of human liberty, the beauty of sunlight and a mother's love - but also more dramatic works such as the mental and physical anguish of a worker in an arms factory.

''They are poems that speak to all mankind, not just Catholics,'' said the opera great.

Domingo, 67, called John Paul ''the most extraordinary man I ever met''.

He sang for the Polish pope many times and met him on four occasions - the last of them a year before his death on April 2005. Domingo's composer son, also called Placido, is one of several musicians who wrote the scores for the lyrics, which were written in Polish and then translated into Italian, Spanish and English.

The CD was recorded with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and will be released shortly by Deutsche Grammophon.

Domingo said he will start a singing tour next month including Poland, Italy, Germany and his adoptive country Mexico.

John Paul, who died on April 2, 2005 at the age of 84, published two collections of poetry through the Vatican Press: Meditations (March 2003) and The Poetry of Pope John Paul II (September 2003).

One of the best-received poems was one in which he imagined the scene in the Sistine Chapel when his successor would be elected.

Earlier, in 1994, Random House came out with a collection called The Place Within: The Poetry of Pope John Paul II.

The late pope also released or compiled several poems on music, most notably 1999's Abba' Pater, which he recorded for the Catholic Church's Jubilee in 2000.

John Paul was an actor and playwright in his native Poland before he became a priest.

He wrote his first book, a collection of poems called The Ballad of the Porticos of Wawel, at the age of 20.

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(Source: Ansa)