Seventy-five-year-old Spanish tenor Placido Domingo is one of opera’s most versatile legends, singing in Spanish, English, Italian, Russian, French and German at prestigious opera houses around the world. It’s only fitting that he will be the first performer at the UAE’s first opera house, Dubai Opera, on August 31.
“I wanted the best opera star I could get, and it’s him,” chief executive Jasper Hope told Gulf News.
Domingo, now 75, was recognised as a musician by his parents at age 5. He would hum complicated zarzuela — a theatrical Spanish genre that switches between spoken and sung word, as well as pop, opera and dance — pieces after seeing them live. At 16, he accompanied his mother on the piano for his first professional appearance, and made his major zarzuela debut in a baritone role that same year.
By the early 1980s, Domingo was dubbed “The King of the Opera”, a name that has stuck until today. Though he started his career as a solo performer, he’s largely recognised as one of The Three Tenors — a 1990 trio made up of Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti and Jose Carreras.
To date, Domingo has sung more than 4,000 performances and conducted more than 500, an achievement he can add to winning 14 Grammy and Latin Grammy Awards.
He is no stranger to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, having performed in the UAE in 2002, 2007 and 2013. He last visited with his long-time collaborator and conductor Eugene Kohn, who said that “Domingo treasures his appearances in the Middle East”.
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