Plácido Domingo: Wikis

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Domingo speaks at the National Endowment for the Arts Opera Honors on October 31, 2008 in Washington, DC.

José Plácido Domingo Embil KBE (born 21 January 1941),[1] better known as Plácido Domingo, is a Spanish tenor and conductor known for his versatile and strong voice, possessing a ringing and dramatic tone throughout its range. In March 2008, he debuted in his 128th opera role,[2] giving Domingo more roles than any other tenor.[3][4] 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.

Contents

Biography and career

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Early years

Plácido Domingo (1979)

Plácido Domingo was born near the Barrio de Salamanca section of Madrid, Spain,[5] and moved to Mexico with his family, who ran a zarzuela company. He studied piano at first privately and later at the National Conservatory of Music in Mexico City.

In 1957, P. Domingo made his first professional appearance, performing with his mother in a concert at Mérida, Yucatán. He made his opera debut performing in Manuel Fernández Caballero's zarzuela, Gigantes y cabezudos, singing a baritone role. At that time, he was working with his parents' zarzuela company, taking baritone roles and as an accompanist for 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 gave 185 performances, which included a production of Lehár's The Merry Widow in which he performed alternately as either Camille or Danilo.

In 1959, Domingo auditioned for the Mexico National Opera as a baritone but was then asked 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 led by César Costa. He studied piano and conducting, but made his stage debut acting in a minor role in 1959 (12 May) 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 (Dialogues of the Carmelites) and others.

He played piano for a ballet company to supplement his income as well as playing piano for a program on Mexico's newly-founded cultural television station. The program consisted of excerpts from zarzuelas, operettas, operas, and musical comedies. He acted in a few small parts while at the theater in plays by Federico García Lorca, Luigi Pirandello, and Anton Chekhov.

1960s–1980s

In 1961, he made his operatic debut in 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 of Arturo in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor opposite Joan Sutherland in the title role.

In 1962, he returned to Texas to play the role of Edgardo in the same opera with Lily Pons at the Fort Worth Opera.[6] At the end of 1962, he signed a six month contract with the Israel National Opera in Tel Aviv but later extended the contract and stayed for two and a half years, singing 280 performances of 12 different roles.

In June 1965, after finishing his contract with Israel 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 asked to fill in for an ailing tenor at the last minute in Puccini's Madama Butterfly. On 17 June 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 U.S. premiere of Ginastera's Don Rodrigo at the New York City Opera, with much acclaim. The performance also marked the opening of the City Opera's new home at Lincoln Center.

His official debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York occurred on 28 September 1968 when he substituted for Franco Corelli, in Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur singing with Renata Tebaldi. Before Adriana Lecouvreur, he had sung in performances by the Metropolitan Opera at Lewisohn Stadium of Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci in 1966. Since then, he has opened the season at the Metropolitan Opera 21 times,[7] 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, at the Philadelphia Lyric Opera Company in 1970, and at Covent Garden in 1971, and has now sung at practically every other important opera house and festival worldwide. In 1971, he sang Mario Cavaradossi in Puccini's Tosca at the Metropolitan Opera, and continued to sing that part for many years, singing it, in fact, more than any other role.[8]

Throughout the years, Domingo has also turned his hand to conducting opera (as early as La traviata on 7 October 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 19 September 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.

1990s – present

A statue in Mexico City as a recognition to his contributions to 1985 Mexico City earthquake victims and his artistic works

Throughout the1990s and 2000s until today, Domingo continued performing, singing many of the same roles but adding new roles as well, among them the title roles in Wagner's Parsifal and Mozart's Idomeneo, 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 the middle 1990s to early in 2008 alone, he added 38 new roles to his repertoire, covering opera in six different languages (English, Italian, French, German, Russian and Spanish). The latest was the Italian opera by George Frideric Handel, Tamerlano.

Also see: Domingo's complete repertoire.

Giving him even greater international recognition outside of the world of opera, he participated in The Three Tenors concert at the opening of the 1990 World Cup in Rome with José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti. 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, along with rising stars Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazón. On 24 August 2008, Domingo performed a duet with Song Zuying, singing Ài de Huǒyàn (The Flame of Love) at the 2008 Summer Olympics closing ceremony in Beijing.[9][10][11]

In what has been called his 'final career move', Plácido Domingo announced on 25 January 2007 that in 2009 he would take on one of Verdi's most demanding baritone roles, singing the title role in Simon Boccanegra. The debut performance was at Berlin State Opera on October 24, followed by other 29 performances during 2009/2010 at major opera houses around the world. [12] He would, however, continue to sing tenor roles beforehand and afterwards.

On 16–17 April 2008 he sang during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI at Nationals Park and at the Italian embassy in Washington D.C. Since 1990 Plácido Domingo has received many awards and honors for his achievement in the field of music and in recognition of his many benefit concerts and contributions to various charities.

On 15 March 2009, The Metropolitan Opera paid tribute to Domingo's 40th anniversary with the company with an on-stage gala dinner at the Met's 125th anniversary, commemorating his debut in Adriana Lecouvreur as Maurizio opposite Renata Tebaldi on 28 September 1968[13]

On 29 August 2009 he sang Panis Angelicus at the funeral mass of Senator Ted Kennedy in the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Boston, Massachusetts.[14]

Family

He was born to Plácido Francisco Domingo Ferrer (8 March 1907 – 22 November 1987) [15] and Pepita Embil Echaníz (28 February 1918 – 28 September 1994),[16] two Spanish zarzuela stars who nurtured his early musical abilities. Domingo's father was half Catalan and half Aragonese while his mother was a Basque. His father was a violinist performing for opera and zarzuela orchestra. He was a baritone and actively taking roles in zarzuela. However his promising career as a baritone ended after he damaged his voice by singing with a cold. Domingo's mother was an established singer who made her zarzuela debut at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. She met her husband at age 21 while performing in Federico Moreno Torroba's Sor Navarra. In 1946 Moreno Torroba and Domingo's parents formed a zarzuela company and travelled frequently to Mexico. His parents later stayed permanently in Mexico and established their own zarzuela troupe, the Domingo-Embil Company.[17] In addition to their son, they also have a daughter, Maria José Domingo de Fernandez .

On 29 August 1957 at age 16, Plácido Domingo married a fellow piano student, Ana María Guerra Cué (1938–1985) and his first son, José Plácido Domingo Guerra (Pepe) was born on 16 June 1958.[18] However, the marriage didn't last long, the couple separated shortly thereafter. In 1 August 1962, Plácido Domingo married Marta Ornelas, born 1935, a lyric soprano from Veracruz, Mexico, whom he met during his conservatory days.[19] In the same year, Marta had been voted "Mexican Singer of the Year" but she gave up her promising career to devote her time to her family. They have two sons, Plácido Francisco (Plácido Jr.) born on 21 October 1965 and Alvaro Maurizio born on 11 October 1968.[20] After a period of time living in Israel, he and his family resided in Teaneck, New Jersey.[21][22][23] During vacations, he usually spends his time with family in their vacation home in Acapulco, Mexico.[24][25]

Recordings

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 8 August 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.

Recordings that were released in 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). 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.

Appearances on film and television

See Domingo's opera recording in DVD/VHS format and audio CD format.

Domingo has appeared in numerous opera films, among them are Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's Madama Butterfly, Francesco Rosi's Carmen (Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording), Gianfranco de Bosio's Tosca with Raina Kabaivanska, Giuseppe Patroni Griffi's Tosca with Catherine Malfitano (Emmy Award),[26] Franco Zeffirelli's Otello with Katia Ricciarelli, 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. In 2007, Domingo had a cameo in "Homer of Seville", an episode of The Simpsons which revolves around Homer Simpson becoming an opera singer. In his cameo, Domingo sang briefly. Domingo appeared on The Cosby Show Season 5 as Alberto Santiago, a colleague of Dr Cliff Huxtable. He also sang as the operatic moon in the 2001 film Moulin Rouge!.

In 1989, the international television series, 'Return Journey' featured Domingo returning to his home city of Madrid refecting life there whilst recording an album of Zarzuela arias for EMI. The film was directed by Ken MacGregor.

He is the executive producer of the critically acclaimed 1998 Mexican film, The Other Conquest, produced by his son Alvaro and directed by Salvador Carrasco, in which Domingo also performs the original aria "Mater Aeterna", composed by Samuel Zyman with lyrics by Carrasco.

Christmas in Vienna

In 1990, the idea for a Christmas-themed concert, involving the collaboration of Domingo, fellow operatic tenor and friend José Carreras, and pop music legend Diana Ross was first brought up. Vienna was chosen in 1992 to host the event due to its reputation as a capital of music and the particular charm of Austria during Christmas time. The Wiener Symphoniker under the direction of maestro Vjekoslav Šutej provided the orchestral music, and the Gumpoldskirchen Children's Choir provided choral vocals. On 23 December 1992 the first in what would turn out to be a series of Christmas in Vienna concerts was seen worldwide by several hundred million people. Plácido Domingo returned to Vienna for many more Christmas in Vienna concerts, performing with stars and friends of both pop and classical music, including Dionne Warwick, Charles Aznavour, Sissel Kyrkjebø, Michael Bolton, Sarah Brightman, Riccardo Cocciante, Patricia Kaas, Luciano Pavarotti, Tony Bennett and others.

Complete repertoire

Perhaps the most versatile of all living tenors, Domingo has sung 128 opera roles and as many as 131 roles overall in Italian, French, German, English, Spanish and Russian.[27] His main repertoire however is Italian (Otello, Cavaradossi in Tosca, Don Carlo, Des Grieux in Manon Lescaut, Dick Johnson in La fanciulla del West, Radames in Aida), 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 roles to his repertoire, the latest was the title, baritone role in Verdi's Simon Boccanegra on 24 October 2009 at Berlin State Opera. Additionally, Domingo has created several new roles in modern operas, such as the title role in Tan Dun's opera "The First Emperor" at the Metropolitan Opera. In September 2010, he will create the role of the poet Pablo Neruda in the world première of Daniel Catán's opera based on the film "Il Postino" at Los Angeles Opera. [28]

Awards and honors

Plácido Domingo won his first Grammy Award in 1971 and went on to win eight more, as well as three Latin Grammy awards. A Kammersänger of the Vienna State Opera and the recipient of numerous honorary doctorates, his other major awards include Austria's Österreichisches Ehrenzeichen für Wissenschaft und Kunst, France's Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur, Mexico's Orden del Águila Azteca, Spain's Premio Príncipe de Asturias, and the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Writings

Date Title Publisher ISBN Pages Author(s)
Sept
1983
My First Forty Years Alfred A. Knopf ISBN 0394523296 256 Plácido Domingo
Dec
1994
Opera 101: A Complete Guide to
Learning and Loving Opera
Hyperion ISBN 0786880252 494 Fred Plotkin,
Plácido Domingo (intro)
July
1997
Christmas With Plácido Domingo:
Trumpets Sound And Angels Sing
Alfred Publishing Company ISBN 0895243210 80 Plácido Domingo,
Milton Okun (editor)
July
1997
Bajo el cielo español
(Under the Spanish Sky)
Warner Brothers Publications ISBN 0769200249 84 Plácido Domingo (Recorder),
Carol Cuellar (Compiler)
March
1999
Plácido Domingo — Por Amor Hal Leonard Corporation ISBN 0711972583 104 Plácido Domingo
March
2003
Plácido Domingo (Great Voices Series):
My Operatic Roles
Baskerville Publishers, Incorporated ISBN 1880909618 319 Helena Matheopoulos,
Plácido Domingo
March
2007
Leoncavallo: Life and Works Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc ISBN 0810858738
ISBN 0810858800
349
351
Konrad Claude Dryden,
Plácido Domingo (intro)
Dec
2007
So When Does the Fat Lady Sing? Hal Leonard Corporation ISBN 1574671626 173 Michael Walsh,
Plácido Domingo (intro)
  • A new book by Domingo, The Joy of Opera, will be published by WWW Norton in year 2009[29][30]

Humanitarian works and initiatives

  • On 4 March 2006, Domingo sang at the Gala Benefit Concert, "A Night For New Orleans" at the New Orleans Arena to help rebuilding the city after it was hit by Hurricane Katrina. At the gala, he made a statement: "If music be the food of love", then "MUSIC IS THE VOICE OF HOPE!" [31][32]. On 23 March 2008, the New Orleans City Council named the city theatre's stage in the Mahalia Jackson Theatre in Louis Armstrong Park, the "Plácido Domingo stage" as the honour for his contribution at the Gala Benefits Concert. The Gala collected $700,000 for the city recovery fund[33].
  • In 1986, he performed at benefit concerts to raise funds for the victims of 1985 Mexico City earthquake and released an album of one of the events. On 21 August 2007, as recognition to his support to 1985 Mexico City earthquake victims as well as his artistic works, a statue in his honor, made in Mexico City from keys donated by the people, was unveiled. The statue is the work of Alejandra Zúñiga, is two meters tall, weighs about 300 kg (660 lbs) and is part of the "Grandes valores" (Great values) program.[34][35].
  • Domingo supports the Hear the World initiative as an ambassador to raise awareness for the topic of hearing and hearing loss.[36]
  • In 1993 he founded Operalia, The World Opera Competition, an international opera competition for talented young singers. The winners get the opportunities of being employed in opera ensembles around the world.[37] 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.
  • On 21 December 2003, Domingo made a performance in Cancún to benefit the Ciudad de la Alegria Foundation, the foundation that provides assistance and lodging to people in need, including low-income individuals, orphans, expectant mothers, immigrants, rehabilitated legal offenders, and the terminally ill.[38]
  • On 27 June 2007, Domingo and Katherine Jenkins performed in a charity concert in Athens to raise funds to aid the conflict in Darfur. The concert was organized by Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders.[39]
  • In 2 October 2007, Domingo joins several other preeminent figures in entertainment, government, the environment and more, as the one of receivers of the BMW Hydrogen 7, designed in the mission to build support of hydrogen as a viable substitute to fossil fuels.[40]

See also

References

  1. ^ Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia of World Biography, Thomson Gale, 2006, The Concise Grove Dictionary of Music, Oxford University Press, 1994, Warrack, J. and West, E. The Oxford Dictionary of Opera, OUP, 1992 all give the year of birth as 1941.
  2. ^ 128 opera roles.Retrieved 30 December 2008
  3. ^ More repertoire than any tenor from SonyClassical
  4. ^ More repertoire than any tenor from dc-opera.org
  5. ^ Birthplace per biography
  6. ^ American Masters
  7. ^ Metropolitan Opera International Radio Broadcast Information Center — 2007–08 Broadcasts
  8. ^ PBS, American Masters: Plácido Domingo
  9. ^ Curtain closes on unforgettable Beijing Games
  10. ^ Domingo and Chinese singer Song perform together at Beijing Olympics closing
  11. ^ Beijing 2008: Singers Domingo and Song perform
  12. ^ Domingo's performance calendar
  13. ^ Domingo's 40th Anniversary with The MET
  14. ^ James Rowley and Alison Fitzgerald, "Nation’s Political Elite Gathers for Kennedy Farewell", Bloomberg News, 29 August 2009. Accessed 29 August 2009.
  15. ^ Placido Domingo Ferrer, Baritone, 80 — New York Times
  16. ^ Pepita Embil Domingo; Soprano and Tenor's Mother, 76 — New York Times
  17. ^ Domingo biography at bookrags.com
  18. ^ His son José from first marriage
  19. ^ Date of marriage
  20. ^ His two sons with Marta Ornelas
  21. ^ Placido Domingo. 2003. ISBN 1880909618. http://books.google.com/books?id=7KX7tCrpfD8C&pg=PA16&lpg=PA16&dq=Pl%C3%A1cido+Domingo+New+Jersey+teaneck&source=web&ots=GXQiSteXh5&sig=ceID13PbQe1LcbtR0AiQhRo2OBE&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=4&ct=result. "... the New Jersey suburb of Teaneck" 
  22. ^ "Domingo: Iron man of opera", The Cincinnati Post, 23 September 1998. Accessed 7 August 2007. "Domingo vividly recalls his Met debut — four days earlier than planned. His parents were visiting him and his wife, Marta, in Teaneck, N.J., and they'd just sat down to dinner when the phone rang and Rudolf Bing's voice inquired, 'How are you feeling, Placido?'"
  23. ^ Dobnik, Verena via Associated Press. "The Three Tenors return in drag for Domingo", Newsday, 28 September 2008. Accessed 29 September 2008. "Of Domingo's 126 career roles, he sang 45 at the Met since his debut on 28 September 1968. On that night, he drove himself from home in Teaneck, N.J., warming up in the car at the top of his lungs while a nearby motorist laughed. I asked him, 'Where are you going?', and he said, 'the Met.' And I said, 'Don't laugh, you are going to be hearing me.'"
  24. ^ Home in Acapulco from his biography by Helena Matheopoulos
  25. ^ Vacation home in Acapulco from Aarp.org
  26. ^ Emmy award 1993
  27. ^ Repertoire list
  28. ^ http://www.laopera.com/production/1011/Postino/index.aspx
  29. ^ USA Today
  30. ^ Renaissanceresearch.blogspot.com
  31. ^ "If music be the food of love", is "MUSIC IS THE VOICE OF HOPE!"
  32. ^ A Night For New Orleans
  33. ^ New Orleans theatre named for opera singer Placido Domingo
  34. ^ Statue report by Elpais.com
  35. ^ Statue unveiled from Plácido Domingo website
  36. ^ Hear the world website
  37. ^ Domingo Operalia website
  38. ^ Performance in Cancún to benefit the Ciudad de la Alegria Foundation
  39. ^ Charity concert in Athens to raise funds to aid the conflict in Darfur
  40. ^ Received BMW Hydrogen 7
  41. ^ Theodore P. Mahne, "Star Emcee Patricia Clarkson Shares in the Excitement over Tonight's Opera Gala" in Times-Picayune (New Orleans), 2009 January 17, pp. C1, C3.

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