Placido Domingo turns the big seven-o

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Feliz cumpleaños, Plácido Domingo.

The Spanish tenor -- and general director of the Los Angeles Opera -- celebrates his 70th birthday on Friday. Domingo is currently in the city of his birth, Madrid, Spain, where he is performing in a production of Gluck’s ‘Iphigénie en Tauride’ as Oreste. The city’s Teatro Real has organized a special anniversary gala Friday with performances scheduled for Domingo and invited guests.

Domingo will reprise the role of Oreste in ‘Iphigénie en Tauride’ next month at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Famously a workaholic, Domingo shows no sign of retiring. The singer was once quoted as saying: ‘I don’t want to be 70 and still singing opera. I don’t think I will still be singing on Jan. 21, 2011, which is my 70th birthday.’ Clearly, the tenor has surpassed even his own expectations.

Still, Domingo has lightened his administrative load in recent months. In September, he announced that he would be stepping down as general director at the Washington National Opera, where he has held the top post for close to 14 years. His tenure with the company is scheduled to conclude June 30.


Last fall, Domingo renewed his contract with L.A. Opera through 2013.

Domingo was born in Madrid in 1941 to a family of musicians, but he spent much of his youth in Mexico, where he was trained in the art of zarzuela.

As of 2011, Domingo has performed at least 129 unique opera roles, more than any other tenor. His most recent new role was as poet Pablo Neruda in Daniel Catán’s ‘Il Postino,’ which had its world premiere in September in L.A.

Here’s a recent Spanish news segment on Domingo’s current appearance in ‘Iphigénie en Tauride’ in Madrid:


Placido Domingo will get ample airtime on PBS’ ‘Great Performances’ in 2011

Opera review: L.A. Opera premieres ‘Il Postino’

‘Il Postino’s’ route: ‘50s Chile to ‘70s Italy to Thursday night in L.A.

Opera review: Los Angeles Opera’s ‘Rigoletto’

Opera review: Los Angeles Opera stages a new production of ‘Lohengrin’

-- David Ng

Photo (top): Plácido Domingo in Madrid. Credit: Juan Medina / Reuters

Photo (bottom): Gustavo Dudamel, left, and Domingo. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times