Plácido Domingo renews contract with L.A. Opera through 2013


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Tenor Plácido Domingo has renewed his contract with Los Angeles Opera and will stay on as the company’s general director through 2013, the organization announced on Monday. Domingo’s current five-year contract was set to expire in June 2011.

Perhaps the most recognizable name in the operatic world, Domingo has served as the public face of L.A. Opera since he assumed the role of artistic director at the company in 2000. In 2003, his title was changed to general director.


As L.A. Opera’s top man, Domingo oversees all aspects of the company’s management, including programming and the casting of major roles. In addition, he frequently appears onstage at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion as a performer and in the orchestra pit as a conductor.

The announcement comes as L.A. Opera kicks off its 25th-anniversary season this week with the world premiere of Daniel Catan’s ‘Il Postino,’ based on the popular 1994 movie of the same name. Domingo stars in the Spanish-language production as the exiled poet Pablo Neruda. He will also conduct a production of Mozart’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ that runs in parallel with ‘Il Postino.’

Domingo, 69, continues to perform with companies around the world while holding his position in L.A. In addition, he serves as general director of the Washington National Opera, where his contract is set to expire in June as well.

Some critics have faulted Domingo for spreading himself too thin among his various commitments around the world. In an interview with The Times earlier this year, the tenor denied those claims, saying that he is proud of his achievements at both companies. L.A. Opera’s financial health has suffered in recent seasons as the economic downturn has taken a toll on donations and ticket sales. In late 2009, the company received a $14-million emergency loan approved by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to help make ends meet.

At a press conference earlier this month, L.A. Opera leaders said the company has set aside a large-enough portion of $30 million in emergency donations that its board members have pledged to guarantee that it will make good on the debt.

“It was a monumental act of confidence on [the supervisors’] part, and we won’t let them down,” said Marc Stern, L.A. Opera’s chairman.

The most recently available public figures show that Domingo earned $814,000 in 2008-09 as an executive and a performer at L.A. Opera, with $414,000 paid and $400,000 deferred.

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-- David Ng and Mike Boehm