The album Amore Infinite by the Spanish tenor Placido Domingo was released earlier this week. It is a collection of songs about nature, the power of love, freedom, and even motherhood. However this is no ordinary album for each and every song was inspired by the poetry of the late Pope John Paul II.
Originally, Placido Domingo and his son Placido Domingo Jr. had composed songs based on the Polish Pope’s religious poetry filled with the trappings of Catholicism. The opera singer then realised this might not spread the richness of the poetry as far as it could go and decided to make the songs more universal.
“I said, ‘This is fine, this is beautiful. … Maybe one day we should record this,’” he said in an interview. “But … this pope has been very much loved and admired by everybody, so there should exist other songs. So we found all this new material, so we found a lot of different themes.”
Karol Wojtyla, who became Pope John Paul II in 1978, went on to be celebrated as the second longest serving pontificate in the history of the Vatican. In 1981 he barely survived an assassination attempt when the Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Ağca opened fire on him during a parade in St. Peter’s Square.
Placido Domingo is a great admirer of the late Pope’s work which included a variety of published poems, plays and philosophical essays. Shortly before Wojtyla’s death in 2005, the tenor met with him and was thanked by the pontiff for previous operatic performances.
“When he was thanking me, I said, ‘Holiness, I know that you have wrote a lot more poems, so I would like it very much that we would put music to some of them, and record them,’” the Spanish great said. “He told me, ‘Oh, that would be wonderful,’ so in a way, he approve it.”
Domingo and his son believe the album Amore Infinite showcases the great humanity of Pope John Paul II during his long life time. Domingo Jr. worked on the CD which features well-known classical singing talents such as Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban, Vanessa Williams and Katherine Jenkins.