- Category : Singer - Classical
- Type : PSP
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Split - Small (16)
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Distraction 2
José Plácido Domingo Embil KBE (born January 21, 1941), better known as Plácido Domingo, is a world-famous Spanish operatic tenor.
He is known for his versatile, strong voice that possesses a ringing and clear tone throughout its range. In addition to his singing roles, he has also taken on conducting opera performances as well as acting as the General Director of the Washington National Opera in Washington, DC and the Los Angeles Opera in California.
Biography and career
Plácido Domingo was born in Madrid, Spain, and moved to Mexico at age 8 with his family, who ran a zarzuela company. In Mexico City he studied music at the National Conservatory. He provided backup vocals for Los Black Jeans in 1958, a rock-and-roll band lead by César Costa. He learned piano and conducting, but made his stage debut acting in a minor role in 1959 (May 12) at the Teatro Degollado in Guadalajara as Pascual in Marina. It was followed by Borsa in Rigoletto, Padre Confessor (Le dialogue des Carmelites) and others. He made his operatic debut acting as a leading role at Monterrey as Alfredo in La Traviata and then in 1962 spent 2 and a half years with the Israel National Opera in Tel Aviv, singing 280 performances of 12 different roles.
On September 19, 1985, the biggest earthquake in Mexico's history devastated the whole Mexican capital. Domingo's aunt, uncle, his nephew and his nephew’s young son were killed in the collapse of the Nuevo León apartment block in the Tlatelolco housing complex. Domingo himself labored to rescue survivors. During the next year, he did benefit concerts for the victims and released an album of one of the events.
In what has been called his 'final career move', Placido Domingo announced on January 25, 2007 that in 2009 he would switch ranges to baritone by taking on one of Verdi's most demanding baritone roles, as the Doge of Genoa, Simone Boccanegra, in the opera of the same name.
Premiere performances and breadth of roles
In 1966, he sang the title role in the US premiere of Ginastera's Don Rodrigo at the New York City Opera, with much acclaim. He first performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York on September 28, 1968, in Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur, singing with Renata Tebaldi. (Since then, he has opened the season there 21 times, surpassing the previous record of Enrico Caruso by four.) He made his debut at the Vienna State Opera in 1967, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1968, at both La Scala and San Francisco Opera in 1969, and at Covent Garden in 1971, and has now sung at practically every other important opera house and festival worldwide.
Perhaps the most versatile of all living tenors, Domingo has sung 124 roles onstage to date (and as many as 128 roles when also counting recorded roles), ranging from Mozart to Ginastera. His main repertoire however is Italian (Otello, Il Trovatore, Don Carlo), French (Faust, Werther, Don José in Carmen, Samson in Samson et Dalila), and German (Lohengrin, Parsifal, and Siegmund in Die Walküre). He continues to add more operas to his repertoire, such as recently Franco Alfano's Cyrano de Bergerac at the Metropolitan Opera and the Royal Opera House in London.
Throughout the years, Domingo has also turned his hand to conducting opera (as early as La Traviata on October 7, 1973, at New York City Opera) as well as, occasionally, symphonic orchestras.
In 1981 Domingo gained considerable recognition outside of the opera world when he recorded the song "Perhaps Love" as a duet with the late American country/folk music singer John Denver. In 1987, he and Denver joined Julie Andrews for an Emmy Award winning holiday television special, The Sound of Christmas, filmed in Salzburg, Austria.
In 1993 he also founded Operalia, an important international competition for young opera singers.
He is the General Director of two opera companies, the Washington National Opera and the Los Angeles Opera. His contracts in both Los Angeles and Washington DC have been extended through the 2010–2011 season.
Domingo has been instrumental in giving many young artists encouragement, (and special attention) as in 2001, when he invited New York tenor, Daniel Rodriguez to attend the Vilar/Domingo Young Artists program to further develop his operatic skills.
Domingo supports the Hear the World initiative as an ambassador to raise awareness for the topic of hearing and hearing loss.
Giving him even greater international recognition outside of the world of opera, with José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti, he participated in The Three Tenors concert at the opening of the 1990 World Cup in Rome. The event was originally conceived to raise money for the José Carreras International Leukemia Foundation and was later repeated a number of times, including at the three subsequent World Cup finals (1994 in Los Angeles, 1998 in Paris, and 2002 in Yokohama). Alone, Domingo again made an appearance at the final of the 2006 World Cup in Berlin.
Performances on film
See List of Domingo's opera recorded performances
Domingo has appeared in numerous opera films, among them:
Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's Madama Butterfly,
Francesco Rosi's Carmen (Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording),
Gianfranco de Bosio's Tosca with Raina Kabaivanska,
Brian Large's Tosca with Catherine Malfitano (Emmy Award),
Franco Zeffirelli's Otello, Cavalleria rusticana & Pagliacci, and La Traviata (with Teresa Stratas, which received a Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording),
He has also appeared on television in the 1978 La Scala production of Puccini's Manon Lescaut which marked the Scala debut of Hungarian soprano Sylvia Sass, as well in zarzuela evenings, and Live at the Met telecasts and broadcasts.
See List of recordings by Plácido Domingo
He has made well over 100 recordings, most of which are full-length operas, often recording the same role more than once. Among these recordings is a boxed set of every tenor aria Verdi ever wrote, including several rarely-performed versions, in different languages from the original operas, which Verdi wrote for specific performances.
In August 2005, EMI Classics released a new studio recording of Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde in which Domingo sings the title role of Tristan. A review of this recording, headlined "Vocal perfections", that appeared in the August 8, 2005 issue of The Economist begins with the word "Monumental" and ends with the words, "a musical lyricism and a sexual passion that make the cost and the effort entirely worthwhile". It characterized his July 2005 performance of Siegmund in Wagner's Die Walküre at Covent Garden as "unforgettable" and "luminous". The review also remarks that Domingo is still taking on roles that he has not previously performed.
New recordings that have been released in the first half of 2006 include studio recordings of Puccini's Edgar, Isaac Albéniz's Pepita Jiménez, as well as a selection of Italian and Neapolitan songs, titled Italia ti amo (all three with Deutsche Grammophon).
Amongst many television appearance in many countries over the years (a large number for charitable purposes), Domingo appeared as the star act in the New Orleans Opera Association's A Night For New Orleans with Frederica von Stade and Elizabeth Futral, in March 2006. The concert was to raise funds for the rebuilding of the city.