Opera star Domingo lauded in London as one of a kind

Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:53am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Spanish singer Placido Domingo marked his 40th anniversary at London's Royal Opera House with a gala concert late Thursday that was greeted with one of the longest and loudest curtain calls the venue has seen in years.

Yet amid the celebrations for the 70-year-old's distinguished career, there came warnings that his like may not be seen again in a time when finding the "next big thing" could deny singers the time to develop into genuine greats.

For one, unlike many other members of the opera royalty, Domingo does not do hissy fits, tantrums and last-minute cancellations.

Instead, it seems, the man with the golden voice and acting abilities appears to be loved just as much for his professionalism and generosity on and off stage.

"You'll never hear anyone in the industry say a bad word about him," said veteran opera photographer Rob Moore, who was at Covent Garden in 1971 when Domingo made his debut there.

The sellout crowd paying up to 225 pounds ($360) a seat saw Domingo perform the final acts of three of his favorite Verdi operas.

In "Otello," he sang the title role written for a tenor, the register that made him one of the most famous singers of his generation with Luciano Pavarotti and Jose Carreras.

Domingo recently switched to baritone, and performed the title roles in the closing scenes of "Rigoletto" and "Simon Boccanegra."   Continued...

<p>Placido Domingo bows during the curtain call of Placido Domingo Celebration at the Royal Opera House after a special performance to celebrate his 40th anniversary with the Royal Opera in London October 27, 2011. REUTERS/Olivia Harris</p>