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LONDON (Reuters) - He is 69 years old and underwent cancer surgery this year, but Spanish singer Placido Domingo still has what it takes when it comes to commanding the opera stage, British critics said on Thursday.
The artist best known as a tenor was singing baritone in Verdi's "Simon Boccanegra" at the Royal Opera House, the same part he performed at Milan's La Scala in April -- his comeback after surgery to remove a malignant polyp from his colon.
Neil Fisher of the Times newspaper gave the opera five stars out of five in a review of Tuesday night's opening, and wrote of the "beauty and power of (Domingo's) voice."
The Guardian's Eric Jeal noted that Domingo's Boccanegra was "far from definitive" and probably not what Verdi had in mind.
"But does that matter? Not this time. Once again, Domingo creates a convincing character on his own terms," she said in a four-star review.
Speaking to Reuters backstage after the premiere, the performer, renowned for his prodigious work rate, said he had not given up on singing tenor parts.
"I hope I can continue with both, to shuffle my repertoire," he said. "I have recovered again with the same strength and enthusiasm as always," he added.
Domingo also repeated calls for people to take tests for cancer early.
"I have to say to everybody that it is so important that everyone make their exams in time, because if I didn't do it in time things could be worse."
Domingo is the sole performer left of the famed "Three Tenors" after Luciano Pavarotti died of cancer in 2007 and Jose Carreras announced his retirement last year.
Simon Boccanegra plays at the Royal Opera House through the first half of July, and Domingo is also due to sing at the annual Proms, a series of classical music concerts each summer in London culminating in a last night fanfare.
Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato