The most extraordinary tenor of all: an exemplary career, more than 120 roles under his belt, a shower of awards, an incredible longevity and now marking the baritone roles! He has also directed more than 500 opera performances and symphonic concerts.
Plácido Domingo is a singer, conductor and administrator. He sang in all the major opera houses and produced an unequaled number of recordings, including more than 100 complete operas.
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The son of the acclaimed zarzuela singers Plácido Domingo and Pepita Embil, José Plácido Domingo Embil was eight years old when his parents took their musical company on a tour of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. "They fell in love with Mexico,'' the tenor recalled years later, "and said ‘Let's stay for one more week'.'' That week became a lifetime.
Domingo studied conducting and piano-curiously, not singing-in Mexico City's National Conservatory of Music. It was in Mexico that Domingo made his singing debut, as a baritone in the zarzuela Gigantes y Cabezudos, then in a production of My Fair Lady in Mexico City that was soon followed by the role of Alfredo in La Traviata in Monterrey in 1961.
In 1962, Domingo married the soprano Marta Ormelas, and the couple moved to Tel Aviv to become members of the Hebrew National Opera. He was discovered singing the world premiere of Ginastera's Don Rodrigo, the opera that inaugurated New York City Opera's residence at Lincoln Center in 1966.
Major debuts followed in rapid succession as the world began to experience the Domingo phenomenon: Tosca at the Hamburg State Opera and Don Carlo at the Vienna State Opera in 1967; Adriana Lecouvreur at the Metropolitan Opera, Turandot in Verona, La Boheme in San Francisco and Turandot in Verona in 1969, La Gioconda in his hometown of Madrid in 1970; Tosca in Covent Garden in 1971, La Boheme at the Bavarian State Opera in 1972, Don Carlo at the Paris Opera in 1973 and at the Salzburg Festival in 1975. His Bayreuth Festival debut waited until 1992, in Parsifal.
By then, Domingo also had made a name for himself as a conductor, leading musical forces from London's Covent Garden to New York's Metropolitan Opera and Washington's Kennedy Center. As an administrator, he was the music director of the World's Fair in Sevilla, the founder and artistic director of the Los Angeles Opera and the artistic director of the Washington Opera in the nation's capital. He is the founder of Operalia, the biggest annual vocal competition in the world. And he holds the world record for once having received 101 curtain-calls after an "Otello" performance in Vienna, which earned him a place in The Guinness Book of Records."
Blessed with a distinctive, instantly identifiable golden voice as well as with canny theatrical instincts, Domingo also has brought to the world's musical banquet a rare musical intelligence and a superlative mastery of the musician's craft. With 115 roles so far in his repertory, he has sung more different parts than any tenor in the annals of music. He has made more than 100 opera recordings, and more than 50 on film including Zeffirelli's La Traviata and Otello and Rossini's Carmen.
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