With good reason, Placido Domingo has been called ‘the greatest operatic artist of modern times’ (The Guardian), and we can’t possibly encompass his long and continuing career in one posting. There is an extensive official website on the internet which includes brief extracts from some of his performances, and I refer you to that. ‘Greatest’ in the context of his art includes the sheer number of roles he has sung – at the last count 122! His extensive repertoire is still being added to. This summer for the first time he sang in Wagner’s Walkure in Covent Garden, a production repeated on the opening night of the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts in London.
He was born in Madrid in 1941, his parents performers of Zarzuela music (more about this later) and when he was eight years old the family moved to Mexico City where he studied at the Conservatory – initially piano and conducting, changing to singing lessons when the potential of his voice became plain. You will have heard him on some of his many recordings.
There is a strength and flexibility in his voice which has become deeper with the years so that now he feels able – even at the age of 64 – to learn and sing roles which at one time he might have felt uncomfortable with. He is also of course to be seen regularly as a conductor in the pit of opera houses or on the concert platform. Amongst the orchestras he has conducted is the London Philharmonic and he toured his native Spain with them a few years ago.
His honours are almost countless and the money he has raised for charity has raised millions of dollars for many worthy causes. Most of all, however, he has a wonderful voice – for me he is the equal of Caruso and Gigli, and excels them both in the dedication he has given to his art and to the public.