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Plácido Domingo needs the stage like air to breath.
The Spanish tenor is no stranger to London's Royal Opera House. He is a regular performer there and is loved as one of the most versatile singers in the world. We had the chance to meet him in the British capital where he gave us an insight into his eventful life. The 69-year old has decided to jump from being tenor to baritone, playing the Doge of Genoa, Simon Boccanegra, in the opera of the same name – a rollercoaster of politics and paternity.
"All your life you have generated this kind of excitement, youth, being the hero, you know the lover, the artist and then the Boccanegra comes as a very really mature ruler." With half a century's experience on stage he is a man of many memories. One in particular seems to him like yesterday. In his earlier days he played a young lover trying to sweep across the stage on a rope. "I was hanging there and I calculated badly when I had to take the rope. I was able to hold this metal bar. I mean I was strong, but you are not used to hanging like this and so you know rather than making a dashing entrance by the rope as the lover, I had to say: Just put me down!"
Domingo says he cherishes passing on his knowledge and experience to younger generations. He tirelessly supports fresh talent. For that he founded the competition operalia, where he conducts the candidates through the contest. He says: "It's a fantastic feeling to feel how much talent there is and how much we can do to help them, to guide them and be positive and be able to pass to them what I have learned from the past generations."
Domingo's recent life experiences have made him more reflective. At the start of this year he was diagnosed with cancer. Now – having successfully beaten it – he values his family and particularly his grandchildren even more: "I want to see them grow. I want to help them if some of them are going to sing, which there are certain indications of already. So this is wonderful to be able and to be healthy, you need that to be able to see your grandchildren. That's the most important thing." But family is one thing, stage another: Domingo couldn't wait to get back on stage. He is still singing, conducting, teaching and even admistrating opera. The word "retirement" is not in Plácido Domingo's vocabulary. "I don't have any urge to retire, you know. This is a job that is so rewarding that you are doing. As I said, it's a privilege to bring to people peace, to bring something that touches their souls, why should you stop? "It is passion, you know. Anything you do in life, it has to be done with passion."
The pieces heard during this item are:
- Giuseppe Verdi, Simon Boccanegra
- Camille Saint-Saëns, Samson and Delilah