Plácido Domingo

Plácido Domingo as Radames ('Aida' by Verdi), 1973.

Plácido Domingo as Radames (Aida by Verdi), 1973.

Plácido Domingo was born in Madrid in 1941. From the age of eight was brought up in Mexico where his parents (both singers) started a zarzuela (Spanish music genre) company. His vocal talents were recognised and he made his stage debut as a baritone in Mexico City when he was only 16.

He sang everything from operetta and zarzuelas to musicals. It was two years before it was realised that he was a natural tenor. At 18 he made his operatic debut. Within two years he was singing on the same stage as Joan Sutherland.

Realising that he needed experience, Domingo spent three years out of the spotlight working with the Hebrew National Opera in Israel. By 1970, not yet 30, he knew roles in 45 operas.

Domingo has sung all over the world and is a major recording star. With Luciano Pavarotti and José Carreras, he became a household name through the ‘Three Tenors' concert at the World Cup in Rome in 1990.

His repertory is huge – embracing Verdi, Wagner, Mozart and Tchaikovsky and he is an enthusiastic supporter of composers writing today. He is an opera star of the technical age – one performance of Tosca was broadcast to over one billion people in 117 countries. As he said, ‘I have a divine gift. I must share it and this is a way of doing so'. In 1977, when he sang Radames in Aida at Covent Garden, opera critic Alan Blyth praised Domingo as 'the world's most opulently gifted tenor'. High praise indeed.