Thursday, June 19, 2008

Immigrant of the Day: Plácido Domingo (Spain)

250pxdomingoj1 José Plácido Domingo Embil (born January 21, 1941), better known as Plácido Domingo, is a world-renowned operatic tenor, known for his versatile and strong voice, possessing a ringing and dramatic tone throughout its range.  He is also admired for his acting ability, his musicality and musical intellect, and the 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.

Domingo has sung at practically every other important opera house and festival worldwide.  Throughout the years, Domingo has also turned his hand to conducting 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.

Throughout 1990s until today, Domingo has continued performing in many of the same but also new operas.  Between the middle of 1990 to the early of 2008 only, he has added 38 new roles into his repertoire covering opera in six different languages (English, Italian, French, German, Russian and Spanish).

Domingo 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.

On 16-17 April 2008, Domingo sang during the visit of the Pope Benedict XVI at Nationals Park and at the Italian embassy in Washington DC. From 1990 to 2008, Domingo has received many awards and honors for his effort in music, benefit concerts and charity. On August 21, 2007, in Mexico City, a two meters tall statue and weighs about 300 kg (660 lbs) was build in his honor. On March 23, 2008, the New Orleans City Council honors his contribution at the Gala Benefits Concert by naming the city theatre's stage, the "Plácido Domingo stage". On April 2008, he was voted as the greatest tenor in history in BBC Music Magazine.

Domingo was born to two Spanish zarzuela stars who nurtured his early musical abilities. His father was a violinist performing for opera and zarzuela orchestra. Domingo's mother was an established singer who made her zarzuela debut at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. His parents later stayed permanently in Mexico and established their own zarzuela troupe, the Domingo-Embil Company.

For Domingo's official website, with audio of his singing, click here.


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