Placido Domingo: The Master of Music
by Christina Foerch
December 11, 2012
Every once in a while there comes along a natural born star; a talent so inimitably unique and overwhelming, a presence so charismatic, a life journey so inspirational, we are simply left awe struck and infatuated with this seemingly magical being. The legendary Plácido Domingo is a star of this kind of captivating stature, and with a huge and adoring fan base in Lebanon, the infamous tenor returned once again this summer to tantalize and enthrall audiences with the power of his voice and compelling performance.
Domingo is one of the most influential singers in the history of the opera. This multifaceted artist is also an actor and conductor, with one of the most enviably accomplished careers that some can only dream of. The 70-year-old superstar has been performing for five decades and has no plans to slow down any time soon. “I enjoy performing. I am still very capable of delivering the sort of performances that my fans expect and look forward to, and I am devoted to my work. I am doing what I love,” smiled Domingo.
Indeed, plans for a quiet retirement are not on the horizon, as along with Domingo’s numerous performances and projects, his contract with the Los Angeles Opera in California, where he serves as general director, has been extended through the 2012-2013 season. “I never dreamed I would still be singing and performing at this age. I thought I would be retired by now, but that hasn’t happened and I don’t have plans for retirement just yet,” he said.
The King of Drama
Domingo’s gift is a strong and versatile voice, with a ringing and dramatic tone throughout its range, which has earned him 136 opera roles – more roles than any other tenor. He performed in operas that included Bizet's Carmen, Puccini's Madame Butterfly and Tosca, Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur, Wagner's Parsifal, and Mozart's Idomeneo, just to name a few.
Domingo conducted opera as early as 1973, branching out and taking his career to new heights. So far, he has conducted more than 450 opera performances and symphonic concerts with the Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, Vienna Staatsoper, LA Opera, Chicago Symphony, Vienna Philharmonic, Montréal Symphony, National Symphony, London Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Berlin Philharmonic, among others.
In recent years, Domingo has also ventured into film and television, performing in several opera films made for television and theatrical release. The great tenor’s playful and comic side shone through with performances in notable television and film favorites, where he played himself on The Simpsons, voiced the role of Monte in Disney’s Beverly Hills Chihuahua, and appeared on The Cosby Show as Alberto Santiago, a colleague of Dr. Cliff Huxtable.
The three Tenors, Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras, and Luciano Pavarotti
A Celebrated Star
Loved around the world, Domingo has done his native Spain proud, and to celebrate his 70th birthday in true dramatic and operatic style, the King and Queen of Spain arranged for a grand gala concert in Madrid. “The gala was attended by the Queen actually, and of course it was a wonderful evening – one I will never forget,” said Domingo.
Adored in Lebanon, his concert in the Zouk Mikaël International Festival instantly sold out. “This is my third visit to Lebanon, and when I was approached about returning once again, I agreed with no hesitation at all,” he said.
Domingo expressed his admiration for Lebanon and praised the beauty of the Lebanese people. “I believe Lebanese women are some of the most beautiful in the world!” laughed Domingo. “Lebanese people also have great taste in music, and performing for an audience here is always a pleasure,” he added.
As anticipated, his concert was a night to remember with the incredible tenor’s voice evoking the strongest of emotions in a performance Domingo’s fans have longed for since his last one. When asked if he would consider coming back to Lebanon for an encore, Domingo said, without the slightest pause, “Absolutely! I look forward to my return.” Lebanon is looking forward to it too!