Domingo, Plácido (1941–)

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Domingo, Plácido (1941–)

Plácido Domingo is considered one of the great operatic tenors of his day. Born into a family of zarzuela performers in Madrid, Spain, on 21 January 1941, his family settled in Mexico shortly before his eighth birthday. He entered the Mexican National Conservatory at the age of fourteen as a nonmatri-culating student. Marriage at sixteen years of age and fatherhood at seventeen cut short his conservatory studies, but he continued singing. He sang with the National Opera in supporting roles from 1959 to 1961. He also played piano with the Concierto de Mexico ballet troupe and acted in plays during those years. He and his second wife, singer Marta Ornelas, moved to Tel Aviv, Israel, to work with the Hebrew National Opera at the end of 1962 and stayed there until 1965, when he received his first invitations to perform in the United States. He joined the New York City Opera in October of that year. In 1966 he began singing with the Hamburg State Opera. From that point on he sang in the major opera houses in the world, including Vienna, Milan, and London. He first performed at the Metropolitan Opera in September 1968. Domingo has been described as combining "a skillful and elegant power of expression with musical bridgings and melodic phrasings that border on the vocally miraculous" (Schnauber 1997, p. xv). Among the eighty different roles Domingo has performed in his career, he is most associated with the title roles in Offenbach's Tales of Hoffman and Verdi's Otello, as well as Cavaradossi in Puccini's Tosca. Domingo has had a varied career. He made his debut as a conductor with the New York City Opera in 1973. Among his more than 100 recordings are included performances of a wide variety of popular musical styles, many, but certainly not all, from the Hispanic world. (He had a hit song, "Perhaps Love," with John Denver in 1982.) Domingo has performed in more than twenty-four countries. In 1984 he co-founded the Los Angeles Music Center Opera. He became artistic director of the Washington Opera in 1996.

See alsoMusic: Popular Music and Dance .


Domingo, Plácido. My First Forty Years. New York: Knopf, 1983.

Schnauber, Cornelius. Plácido Domingo. Translated by Susan H. Ray. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1997.

Snowman, Daniel. The World of Plácido Domingo. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1985.

                              Andrew J. Kirkendall