Plácido Domingo Puts John Paul II Poetry to Music

Tenor Presents «Amore Infinito»

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By Carmen Elena Villa

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 28, 2008 ( Pope John Paul II’s poetry is «incredible, profound and complex,» according to the well-known tenor who has put the texts to song on a CD that was released in Italy today.

Plácido Domingo joined with Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, to present his latest recording, «Amore Infinito» (Infinite Love), during a press conference in the Vatican press office today.

The CD includes duets with Andrea Bocelli, Vanessa Williams and Katherine Jenkins and an international version will be released in January.

«This unique initiative brings together two art forms, poetry and music which, brilliantly combined, have produced an album,» Bishop Crepaldi said.

«Listening to these songs, so magnificently interpreted by Placido Domingo and the London Symphony Orchestra, brings back the memory of John Paul II and of an entire life, frequently marked by dramatic episodes, lived with a passion for God and for man. What is the secret of this ‘Wojtylian’ poetic, which he translated into so many poetical texts?» asked the bishop. «For John Paul II everything begins with God’s ‘yes’ to man, everything arises from God’s plan of ‘infinite love.’ God’s ‘yes’ to man means ‘yes’ to his dignity, to his authentic needs. It means ‘yes’ to the world […] and to everything that is beautiful, good and just in life.»

The texts of Domingo’s songs «cover many subjects: family affections, work, war, homeland, etc, but all of them,» the prelate affirmed, «are inspired by God’s ‘yes’ to man, by the infinite love of God.»

Artistic project

Domingo explained that the idea for the album arose from his last encounter with the Polish Pontiff. He recalled how he offered a concert for peace in Italy in 2003, in which he sang a prayer for peace written by the Holy Father.

«It was the last time I saw John Paul II,» the tenor said. «I told him, ‘I would like to sing your poems.’ And he answered me, ‘why not?'»

The singer explained that as he selected the poems, though most of them regard spiritual themes, he was drawn to those on topics such as liberty, love and family.

Thus, he said, something that began as a «more spiritual project later became a more artistic project.»

Domingo contended that though there is no need to spread the fame of John Paul II, there was a need to make known «this truly important part of his life.»

The tenor recalled that he had the chance to be close to the Pope at various times in his life.

«I carry in my heart the moment I saw him with the children in Mexico, when he was in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe,» he said. «To see how he welcomed them — he looked like an angel — with enormous tenderness and patience, speaking in Spanish, singing with them … this has certainly touched me.»

Domingo plans to promote the CD with 10 international concerts.

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