Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Craig David Biography - Became Teenage MC to Herman Edwards Biography » Plácido Domingo: 1941—: Opera Singer, Conductor, Administrator Biography - Talented Soccer Goalie, Has Memorized Over 30 Roles, The Three Tenors

Plácido Domingo: 1941—: Opera Singer, Conductor, Administrator - Has Memorized Over 30 Roles

operatic conducting zarzuela stars

Keeping up what seemed to many a grueling schedule of appearances, Domingo displayed an enthusiasm that rarely flagged; he attributed his endurance to the examples of his parents, who had sometimes given two or three performances in a single day. Part of what endeared Domingo to operatic producers was his tremendous knowledge of the operatic repertory. He knows over 30 roles by heart and is familiar with many more, and in one case studied a role on the plane as an emergency substitute at the San Francisco Opera, changing into his costume in a limousine on the way to the opera house.

A new chapter in Domingo's career began in 1972, when he served as orchestra conductor on an album by fellow opera star Sherrill Milnes. Domingo followed that up with a conducting appearance at the New York City Opera (in Verdi's La Traviata) during the 1973-1974 season, and since then has been active as a conductor in most of the major opera houses in the United States and Europe. Some observers believed that Domingo was trying to build a place for himself in the world of opera after his singing days ended, an understandable goal in view of the long career fade-out suffered by some operatic vocalists. In Domingo's case, however, conducting came naturally, for he had occasionally conducted performances for his parents' zarzuela company as a young man and had studied conducting in Mexico.

Domingo also branched out in another way in the late 1970s and 1980s: he made forays into popular music, recording duets with pop stars John Denver and Jennifer Rush. Though there was a long history of such efforts by opera stars, these brought the singer some criticism from purists. Another semi-popular project of Domingo's middle age was an effort to promote a rediscovery of the zarzuela music with which he had grown up. Domingo was becoming more and more of a public figure, a status that intensified after his energetic efforts to help victims of Mexico City's disastrous 1985 earthquake. But few could have predicted the success of the move that in the 1990s would make Domingo an instantly recognizable figure in the pop world to a degree that few other classical performers have ever accomplished.

Plácido Domingo: 1941—: Opera Singer, Conductor, Administrator - The Three Tenors [next] [back] Plácido Domingo: 1941—: Opera Singer, Conductor, Administrator - Talented Soccer Goalie

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