Happy Birthday, Plácido Domingo

A belated happy birthday to Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo who turned 75 yesterday.

In recent years, Domingo has remained active. As his voice has aged, he has successfully transitioned into baritone roles. Additionally, he has branched out into conducting. He currently serves as general director of the Los Angeles Opera, a position he held previously with the Washington National Opera. He has released numerous popular albums. In this clip from the late 1980s, you can see his zany appearance on Sesame Street.

Opera is a strange mix of art and sport. At one level, audiences are enthralled by the physical effort and sense of endurance a singer must display as voices soar into the upper limits. There are those rare, special moments in opera when the greatest singers are able to completely draw in the audience. The dramatic moment comes alive with a visceral power. When it’s over, the audience releases a torrent of pent up energy in the form of applause.

This is something we hear in the excerpts below. All three clips come from Puccini operas, showcasing stellar performances by Plácido Domingo:

Manon Lescaut

Here is the love duet, Oh, sarò la più bella!, from the second act of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. It’s a 1980 MET performance, conducted by James Levine, with Renata Scotto.


Here is E lucevan le stelle (“And the stars were shining”) from a MET performance of Tosca:


We’ll finish with the soaring Nessun Dorma (“None Shall Sleep”) from the final act of Turandot:

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

1 thought on “Happy Birthday, Plácido Domingo”

  1. I have enjoyed Plácido Domingo through the years both as a tenor and a conductor. However, I do not agree that he has successfully transitioned into baritone roles. I recognize that it is very difficult to give up a pursuit that you love. However, there is something to be said for “quitting while you are ahead.” (e.g. Julie Andrews, Beverly Sills) Maestro Domingo could continue his career as a very successful conductor and/or artistic director of a prestigious opera company.


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