While most people enjoy music because it makes them feel good, relaxed and somewhat emotional, to some, it is their life, the very air they breathe. Placido Domingo, the Spanish-born tenor has in so many ways proven how much music is part of his daily life. The multiple awards and accolades he’s received is a sure proof of his immense skills as a singer, conductor administrator. For those who don’t know Placido Domingo quite well, this article is meant to help you explore more facts about the popular “King of Opera”.
Who is Placido Domingo? Biography, Age
Placido Domingo’s original name is José Plácido Domingo Embil. He is Spanish and was born on January 21, 1941, to Placido Domingo Sr. and Pepita Embil Domingo who are equally great singers of the Spanish lyrical genre called the zarzuela.
Unlike many singers whose passion for music developed gradually, Domingo’s was inborn. According to his mother, they knew he would be a great singer from the early age of five when they discovered he could comfortably hum the complex music from the Spanish operettas. Although he was born in the Retiro district of Madrid, Spain, he grew up in Mexico where his parents later moved to. That could be said to be the beginning of Domingo’s musical career – his parents launched their own own zarzuela group and Domingo had the opportunity to make his first appearance in his parent’s productions.
Not only that, Placido Domingo perfected his skills in Piano. He also had his voice trained at the National Conservatory of Music and by 1961 and made his debut as a professional tenor singer in Monterrey, Mexico, where he played as “Alfredo,” the hero of La Traviata. The same year, he made his debut in the United States where he sang the role of Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor with the American opera company called the Dallas Civic Opera.
Towards the tail end of the year 1962, Domingo signed his first contract with the Israel National Opera in Tel Aviv. What initially was a six months contract, was later increased to two and a half years with Placido Domingo singing in 280 performances of 12 different roles. In 1965, while his deal with the Tel Aviv based company was still valid, Domingo was hired to make his New York debut as Don José in Bizet’s Carmen with the New York City Opera. Not only has Domingo appeared in several operas in New York City, he has made his debut appearances with many companies across Europe. He was with the Vienna State Opera in 1967, the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1968, the Hamburg State Opera in 1975, and many more. He also appeared as a music conductor at major opera houses around the world.
Placido Domingo’s rise to fame, however, began in the 1980s as he was being recognized outside the world of opera. He recorded songs with great artists like John Denver with whom he recorded the song Perhaps Love. With his rise to fame as a singer, conductor and one with the greatest tenor voice, Domingo began to appear on TV where he was interviewed on many talk shows and news programs.
Placido Domingo has three theatrically released films under his belt. The films include Franco Zeffirelli’s La Traviata and Otello and Francesco Rosi’s Carmen. Also, his voice was featured in several films like the 2008 Disney film Beverly Hills Chihuahua; the 2012 educational cartoon Dora the Explorer, and as Skeleton Jorge in the 2014 animated film Book of Life. Shockingly, his telecast of Tosca from the authentic settings in Rome had over one billion views from 117 countries. Domingo sang the Olympic Hymn at the closing ceremonies of the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 and performed at the 2008 Summer Olympics closing ceremony in Beijing. During pope, Benedict XVI’s visit to the National park and the Italian embassy in Washington D.C, Domingo seized the special occasion with his voice as he sang.
Domingo’s Baritone Voice
Ever heard his baritone voice? Domingo sure has one of the best baritone voices ever heard. The first proof of his baritone role was in Simon Boccanegra which occurred at the Berlin State Opera on 24 October. it was followed by about 30 other performances at major opera houses around the world.
Having performed extensively in many operas where he received praises for his “Rich vocal endowment” and “effortless elan” Domingo did not only earn the fame but the financial growth as well. He sings in every important opera house in the world and has made an unparalleled amount of recordings. It is assumed that Placido Domingo has done 80 operas, recorded over 50 and totalled up 1400 performances. For these, he has earned 12 Grammy Awards, including three Latin Grammys. His net worth is placed at $300 million. People With Money in 2018 rated him as the highest-paid singer in the world with his annual earnings rising to $75 million between April 2017 and April 2018.
Domingo’s growth in wealth is not only attached to his talent as a singer but also to his numerous stock investments and lucrative endorsements like the one he has with CoverGirl cosmetics. He reportedly owns several restaurants such as the “Fat Domingo Burger” chain) in Madrid and also has a Football Team called the “Madrid Angels”. He even launched his own Vodka brand called Pure Wonderdomingo – Spain. In addition to all these is his fashion line called “Plácido Domingo Seduction”.
Placido Domingo Family
As we already know, Placido Domingo came from a family famous for being zarzuela singers. His mother Pepita Embil Domingo was a Spanish Basque soprano who had her first performance at the Teatro Liceo, Spain’s most important opera house located in Barcelona. His father, on the other hand, was a Spanish zarzuela baritone. He is Half Catalan and half Aragonese and he started his singing career in Zaragoza, the capital of Aragon. He made his debut as a singer at the Parisiana Theater of Zaragoza with the work, Los Gavilanes. Both his father and mother joined a zarzuela company in 1946 and later established their own company in Mexico City, Mexico.
Talking about Domingo’s own family, he married at the early age of 16 to Ana María Guerra Cué, his fellow piano student. They got married on August 29, 1957, and a year after, they had their first child, a boy named José Plácido Domingo Guerra. Joe, as he is currently called is a photographer.
Domingo separated with Maria and married Marta Ornelas on August 1, 1962. Matha was a lyric soprano from Veracruz, Mexico, whom he met during his conservatory days. After their marriage, the couple often performs together at the Israel National Opera and together, they had two sons – Plácido Francisco (also known as Plácido Domingo Jr. and Alvaro Maurizio. Placido Domingo currently has three children altogether. All his sons are doing well for themselves as he is. The family currently lives in Teaneck, New Jersey but they often spend their break times at their vacation home in Acapulco, Mexico.