ORFEO International


January 2011

Plácido Domingo 70th Anniversary

There have already been many words of congratulation from others, but nor do we wish to miss the opportunity to celebrate Plácido Domingo’s 70th birthday too. It is rare that a stage artist should reach this age with such undiminished powers – in January and February 2011 he will be on the stage of the Teatro Real in Madrid and the Metropolitan Opera in New York in one of his more recent roles, that of Orestes in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride. Plácido Domingo
Plácido Domingo
Foto: Axel Zeininger
Domingo’s move towards such baritone parts offers yet another landmark in a stage career that has already stretched over far more than four decades. Year in and year out he has expanded his repertoire, even at an age when opera stars (and their agents) have long tended to restrict themselves to a few choice roles. Domingo has also proven in exceptional circumstances just what a superb musician he is – as, for example, when he jumped in to save a concert performance of Mercadante’s Il giuramento at the Vienna State Opera in 1979. He was approached just three days beforehand, even though he had never sung the role at all. At this relatively early stage of his career, Domingo was already a world-famous singer thanks to roles such as Verdi’s Radamès and Otello, Leoncavallos’s Canio and the title role of Offenbach’s Tales from Hoffmann. Who else possessed of similar fame would have taken such a risk? And, above all, who else would have passed the test with such flying colours? It is a great honour to ORFEO that we can document that evening in our series “Vienna State Opera Live” alongside the other above-mentioned tenor roles. And with the role of Werther in Jules Massenet’s opera of that name, we document a production in Munich that could not have exerted such a magnetic pull on the audience with any other singer at the time. Nor would that work otherwise have become so firmly anchored in the repertoire there. Probably the crowning glory of Domingo’s Wagner career (a career that also took him to Bayreuth) was his Siegmund, of which several excerpts from his 1992 debut are to be found on our series of portrait CDs of the Vienna State Opera, 1967-99. The list of innumerable performances that he has given there (also as conductor) must for the moment remain incomplete – and who knows what we might yet hope for from him...