The total number of air miles he has covered is staggering, and he likely also holds records for the number of performances, roles sung, and recordings, as well as the length of his career – in each and every regard, Plácido Domingo is an absolutely unique artist of our time. Already at the young age of sixteen, he took on his first zarzuela roles, launching his international career as an operatic tenor soon afterward. One would be hard-pressed to find a famous opera house where Plácido Domingo, the singer with the unmistakable, melting timbre, has not performed – and in contrast to his great colleagues Luciano Pavarotti and José Carreras, he was never confined to a limited area of the repertoire. Though the operas of Verdi and verismo repertoire were central pillars of his career, he sang, along with the Italian roles, French, German, Russian, Spanish, and English works just as readily, ranging from Baroque music to world premieres. And what other artist of the past or present could, after stepping down from his great tenor roles, begin a second career as a baritone, as Domingo did? Today, in his eighth decade, he and his great personality are still present on the world’s great stages, where he performs the low baritone repertoire. And he remains equally committed to his artistic pursuits outside the scope of his singing career: Domingo appears as a conductor and is the Artistic Director of the Los Angeles Opera, involved in humanitarian projects, and active in promoting young vocal talent. These have all contributed to making Plácido Domingo one of the most exceptional artist personalities of our time.

© Michael Blees, ORF - Radio Österreich 1


  • José Placido Domingo is born in 1941 in Madrid, his parents were well-known zarzuela singers

  • He makes his debut as an opera singer in May 1961 in Mexico as Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata

  • 1968 first opera role in German: Richard Wagner’s Lohengrin in Hamburg

  • During the 1990 World Cup, first Three Tenors concert (with Luciano Pavarotti and José Carreras)

  • 1993 founds the Operalia Voice Competition

  • Artistic Director and Director of the Washington National Opera (1996–2011) and Los Angeles Opera (since 2001).

  • Receives the title “Kammersänger” in Bavaria and Austria, honorary member of the Vienna State Opera, honorary doctorate from the University of Salamanca

  • 2009 triumphant success with the baritone title role in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra

  • 2009 awarded the Birgit Nilsson Prize (with prize money of one million dollars) and Echo Klassik Award for his life’s work

Did you know?

  • Up to 2016, Plácido Domingo sang 147 roles in over 3800 performances; he has appeared over 500 times as a conductor

  • He features in the Guinness Book of World Records for the enormous size of his repertoire – and for an incredible 101 bows following a performance of Otello at the Vienna State Opera

  • In 1979 he learns a role practically overnight, stepping in and rescuing a concert-version performance of the rarely-performed opera Il Giuramento at the Vienna State Opera

  • In June 1993, Domingo appears in two opera houses on the same evening: at the Vienna Volksoper in Puccini’s Il Tabarro, and then at the Vienna State Opera as Canio in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci

  • On the 40th anniversary of the Metropolitan Opera in 2009, he sings his Met debut role once more: Maurizio in Adriana Lecouvreur – in the 1960s production

  • Record number of studio recordings and appearances in countless films – including Puccini’s Tosca at the original venue and with the “original” period setting