As the close of the Los Angeles Opera’s Plácido Domingo 50th Anniversary Concert at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles on Friday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined L.A. Opera chairman Marc Stern, county Supervisor Hilda Solis and the night’s performers onstage to present the opera star with a proclamation declaring it “Plácido Domingo Day” in Los Angeles.
“There are two types of people here in Los Angeles,” Garcetti said, “those like myself, lucky enough to be born here, and those smart enough to come here. We are so blessed that in 1967 this angel descended with his wings here to bless us and to plant the seed of possibility here in Los Angeles.”
A black-tie dinner onstage followed the concert, which featured Domingo, along with country legend Garth Brooks, two-time Emmy-winning actress Uzo Aduba of “Orange Is the New Black” and a host of opera stars, including Michael Fabiano, Nancy Fabiola Herrera, Ana María Martínez, Nelson Martínez, Janai Brugger, Arturo Chacón-Cruz, Mario Chang, Ermonela Jaho, Nino Machaidze, Morris Robinson and Liudmyla Monastyrska. Music Director James Conlon conducted the L.A. Opera Orchestra.
Among others spotted mingling were Helen Mirren (“The Queen”), director Taylor Hackford and Demian Bichir (“The Bridge”), underwriters Eva and Marc Stern, Edye and Eli Broad, gala chair Mary Hayley and other business and community leaders.
“We were blown away,” Mirren said as guests began headed into dinner. “I loved the eclectic nature of the concert and the fact that [Domingo] chose that Falstaff piece [‘Tutto nel mondo e burla,’ meaning ‘Everything in the world is a joke’] at the end to say, ‘We’re all fools.’ It was so self-deprecating, so sweet and so human — not grand or magnificent but humane and generous and very, very moving.”
Aduba, who studied classical voice, said: “I can still remember when Plácido was on ‘The Cosby Show.’ He sang ‘Besame Mucho.’ I was a kid but I definitely remember. It was amazing to have this opportunity to sing with all these glorious artists. To be part of that community for even one night is special.”
Said Herrera, “It was a privilege to be part of a night like this, where we pay homage to the maestro.”
Fabiano called performing with Domingo a “great honor, because Plácido has had a career of huge distinction and has given so much back to the community.”
Domingo, who is L.A. Opera’s general director, said: “It’s unbelievable. If someone asked me when I made my debut here 50 years ago, ‘How many years will you be singing here?’ it would be amazing to think 50 years. And now, when all the singers come, they leave saying this is really a beautiful and friendly opera company, a family. We are all lucky to find this place.”
L.A. Opera raised more than $2.6 million, which included 400 gala tickets priced from $2,500 to $15,000 each. The funds will go to L.A. Opera productions and community outreach programs.
Ellen Olivier is the founder of Society News LA.