PLACIDO DOMINGO Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Name: Placido  Domingo                                                                   
Born: 21 January 1941                                                                     
José Placido  Domingo Embil KBE (born January 21, 1941) better known as                 
Placido  Domingo, is a world-renowned operatic tenor, known for his versatile and         
strong voice that possesses a ringing and clear tone throughout its range. He is         
considered as one of the most talented and hardest working musicians with 129             
roles in his repertoire (as of November 2007), more than any other tenor. He is           
also admired for his operatic acting ability, his musicality and keen musical             
intellect, and the impressive number and variety of opera roles that he has               
mastered. In addition to his singing roles, he has also taken on conducting               
opera and concert performances, as well as serving as the General Director of             
the Washington National Opera in Washington, D.C. and the Los Angeles Opera in           
California. His contracts in both Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. have been             
extended through the 2010–2011 season.                                                 
Placido  Domingo was born near the Barrio de Salamanca section of Madrid,                 
Spain, and moved to Mexico at age 8 with his family, who ran a zarzuela company.         
Domingo was often asked to perform with his parent’s company when they needed a         
child role. He studied piano at first privately and later at the National                 
Conservatory of Music in Mexico City.                                                     
In 1957, Domingo made his first professional appearance performing with his               
mother in a concert at Mérida, Yucatán. At that time, he was working with his           
parents' zarzuela company, taking parts in baritone roles and as an accompanist           
with other singers. Among his first performances was a minor role in the first           
Mexican production of My Fair Lady where he was also the assistant conductor and         
assistant coach. The company made 185 performances which includes a production           
of Lehar's The Merry Widow where he performed as either Camille or Danilo.               
In 1959, Domingo went for audition at the Mexico National Opera for baritone             
range but was then asked to to sight-read some arias and lines in the tenor               
range. Finally he was accepted in the National Opera as a tenor comprimario and           
as a tutor for other singers. 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 (with Cornell MacNeil and Norman Treigle also in the cast), Padre               
Confessor (Le dialogue des Carmelites) and others.                                       
In addition to that, he played piano for a ballet company to supplement his               
income. Domingo also played piano for a program on Mexico cultural television             
which was newly founded at that time. The program consisted of excerpts from             
zarzuelas, operettas, operas, and musical comedies. He made few small parts               
while at the teater such as plays by Federico García Lorca, Luigi Pirandello,           
and Anton Chekhov.                                                                       
In 1961, he made his operatic debut as a leading role as Alfredo in La Traviata           
at Monterrey and later in the same year, his debut in the United States with the         
Dallas Civic Opera where he played the role as Arturo in Donizetti's Lucia di             
Lammermoor opposite Joan Sutherland as the title role. In 1962, he returned to           
play the role as Edgardo in the same opera with Lily Pons. At the end of 1962,           
he signed a 6 month contract with Hebrew National Opera in Tel Aviv but later             
extended the contract and stay for two and a half years, singing 280                     
performances of 12 different roles.                                                       
In June 1965, after finishing his contract with Hebrew National Opera, Domingo           
went for an audition at the New York City Opera and scheduled to make his New             
York debut as Don Jose in Bizet's Carmen but his debut came earlier when he was           
offered to fill in for an ailing tenor at the last minute in Puccini's Madama             
Butterfly. In June 17, 1965, Domingo made his New York debut as B.F Pinkerton at         
the New York City Opera. In February 1966, he sang the title role in the US               
premiere of Ginastera's Don Rodrigo at the New York City Opera, with much                 
acclaim. The performance also marked as the opening of the City Opera's new home         
at Lincoln Center.                                                                       
He official debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York occurred on September 28,         
1968 when he substituted Franco Corelli, in Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur singing           
with Renata Tebaldi. Before Adriana Lecouvreur, he had sung in performances by           
the Metropolitan Opera of Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo's               
Pagliacci in 1966. Since then, he has opened the season at the Metropolitan               
Opera 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. In 1971, he played the role Mario Cavaradossi in Puccini's           
Tosca at the Metropolitan opera and continued with the same role for many times.         
He has played the role more than any other tenor.                                         
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.                             
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.                                                                       
Throughout 1990s until today, Domingo continued performing in many same and new           
operas, among them Wagner’s Parsifal and Mozart’s Idomeneo as the title role,         
Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia as Figaro, Wagner’s Die Walküre as Siegmund,       
Lehár's The Merry Widow as Danilo and Alfano’s Cyrano de Bergerac as Cyrano.           
From middle 1990 to 2006 only, Domingo has added 36 new roles to his repertoire.         
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             
He holds a world record for the longest ovation on the operatic stage with 101           
curtain calls and 80 minutes non-stop applause after performing Otello, Verdi's           
operatic version of Shakespeare's Othello, as the Moor of Venice in Vienna on             
July 30, 1991. In 2006, Domingo recorded an album Italia Ti amo, dedicated               
himself to Neapolitan and Italian songs, which include Stanislao Gastaldon’s "Musica   
Prohibita" and the famous "Core N’Grato" by Salvatore Cardillo accompanied by           
Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Eugene Kohn.                           
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, Simon                 
Boccanegra, in the opera of the same name.