News / Arts & Entertainment

Placido Domingo Moves Goalposts on Long Opera Career

Spanish opera singer Placido Domingo poses for a portrait at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, California, June 3, 2014.
Spanish opera singer Placido Domingo poses for a portrait at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, California, June 3, 2014.
Reuters
As the World Cup nears, soccer fanatics will inevitably jink the conversation toward the beautiful game. That includes Placido Domingo, who explains why at 73 he can still get down on one knee to declare his love to the soprano.
 
“I was a goalkeeper and I know how to throw myself onto the floor,” said the Spanish opera singer.
 
Even if his sporting past has served him well in his career, the tenor-turned-baritone never expected to be where he is today, still singing on stages all over the world.
 
Because of that unexpected longevity, he finds himself doing double duty as leading man and general director for the LA Opera, where he wrapped up its 28th season this past weekend as the love-struck monk Athanael in Massenet's “Thais,” the 139th role of his career.
 
Around 18 years ago, Domingo took over the direction of the Washington National Opera, and then more than a decade ago became director of the young Los Angeles company.
 
“I really thought I would be singing for a very short time,” he told Reuters in an interview last week at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, where he first performed in 1967. “That's the reason I started thinking of being a director of a theater. The voice is there, so I keep singing.”
 
After making a full recovery from a pulmonary embolism last year, Domingo credits his continuing career to a passion for what he does and just plain luck that his voice is healthy.
 
“Many people younger than me don't sing anymore, and I am still singing,” Domingo said. “I don't know for how long. Maybe for two weeks. In any case, my plans are for three years, at least.”
 
Freer, Looser Take on Opera
 
Domingo's choice to go with the fledgling LA Opera in the mid-1980s now looks like a smart one. One of his roles back then was to cultivate relationships with Hollywood's creative community and bring film directors in to ply their trade in opera.
 
LA Opera today acts as an anchor tenant in the artistic and urban renaissance of downtown Los Angeles along with the Los Angeles Philharmonic next door at Walt Disney Concert Hall.
 
“The entire reason the company is the fourth largest in the United States is directly attributable to his artistry, and I think more broadly to the audience's trust in his taste of singers, conductors, productions,” said Christopher Koelsch, LA Opera's president and chief executive officer.
 
Because L.A. opera-goers' local company is relatively young, they don't necessarily have preconceived notions of how a classic opera like Verdi's “La Traviata” should be produced.
 
“They want it to feel much more cutting-edge, a little bit looser, a little bit freer,” said Koelsch. “We are respectful of the tradition but not burdened by it.”
 
Domingo, for instance, will open LA Opera's next season in September in the role of the father, Giorgio Germont, in “La Traviata,” set in the Roaring Twenties with Art Deco sets and directed by his wife, Marta.
 
“We have to do exciting things for new people,” said Domingo.
 
40 Years a Finals Fan
 
Across the street, the LA Phil under the young Venezuelan superstar conductor Gustavo Dudamel has won widespread acclaim for a trilogy of Mozart operas, with stages built by renowned architects and costumes by fashion designers.
 
But Domingo and Koelsch dismiss any notion of an operatic turf war in downtown L.A.

“I wish we would like to do things together sometimes and I think there is the possibility,” said Domingo, who is friends with Dudamel. “We are ready and willing.”
 
After his performance Saturday, Domingo headed for Europe before he makes his way to Brazil for the World Cup. He will arrive in time for the quarter-finals and is betting his beloved Spain, the world champions, will be in contention.
 
Domingo's performances will include a big concert in Rio de Janeiro two days before the final. There is little doubt where he'll be on July 13 - Rio's Maracana Stadium.

“I have been at the finals since 1974,” he said.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

The Hamilton Live

Paquito D'Rivera, who has won 12 Grammys, is celebrated both for his artistry in Latin jazz and his achievements as a classical composer. D'Rivera's latest project, “Jazz Meets the Classics,” was released this month. He joins us on the latest edition of "The Hamilton Live."