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

Islamic State Survivor: A Yazidi Girl's Tale

Sarah Said Haydar, captured a year ago while fleeing Islamic State onslaught in northern Iraq, was so traumatized by militants, she sought to end her own life More

EU, US Applaud Kosovo Law on Special Court

Joint statement says lawmakers' decision to address allegations of war crimes 'demonstrated their commitment to the rule of law and to honor international agreements' More

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' 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.
Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Tradei
X
Robert Carmichael
August 04, 2015 3:07 PM
Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Trade

Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Growing Number of E. Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship

Most Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have long rejected the option of full Israeli citizenship, seeing it as a betrayal to their political cause - the formation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. But as that dream remains elusive, more and more Palestinians are applying for Israeli citizenship. Zlatica Hoke reports the decision is hard for many Palestinians who say they have to be pragmatic about it.
Video

Video With No Money, More Students, African Universities Struggle

Academics from around the African continent converged in Johannesburg last week for the African Universities Summit, a chance to tackle some of the major issues facing higher education in Africa today. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Wisconsin's Voter ID Law Still Mired In Controversy

Voter ID laws have sparked controversy across the US. More than 30 states enacted laws requiring citizens to show identification before they vote. Against fierce opposition, the state of Wisconsin recently enacted one the most restrictive voter ID laws in country. As Jeff Swicord reports, no one can predict its impact as the 2016 election nears.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Hailed as Highly Effective

At last, there's a way to end the suffering from the Ebola epidemic that has ravaged West Africa for more than a year. Researchers say the vaccine is so effective, there may never be a major outbreak of Ebola again. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”