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

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.

    New in Music Alley

    Beyond Category: Arturo Sandovali
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    February 02, 2016 3:53 PM
    Cuban-born trumpeter Arturo Sandoval is one of the most exciting musicians in jazz. The multi-Grammy winner takes the Blues Alley stage to perform, and sits down with Beyond Category host Eric Felten to talk about his life in music.

    Cuban-born trumpeter Arturo Sandoval is one of the most exciting musicians in jazz. The multi-Grammy winner takes the Blues Alley stage to perform, and sits down with Beyond Category host Eric Felten to talk about his life in music.