The legendary Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo returns to the Festival stage on 8 July. Having shone as a conductor in a dazzling performance of Verdi’s Requiem at the 67th Ljubljana Festival, he returns this year with a programme of opera and zarzuela arias for baritone.
The musician, who has enjoyed a magnificent singing career and who celebrated his 80th birthday this year, has sung more than 150 roles, an achievement as yet unmatched by any other opera singer. He made his name in the roles of Cavaradossi (G. Puccini: Tosca), Hoffmann (J. Offenbach: The Tales of Hoffmann), Don José (G. Bizet: Carmen) and Canio (R. Leoncavallo: Pagliacci) and is considered the finest Otello (G. Verdi: Otello) of his generation. In the last decade he has also taken on roles from the baritone repertoire, notably Verdi’s operas Simon Boccanegra, I due Foscari, La traviata, Nabucco, Il trovatore and Ernani.
For many years a member of The Three Tenors alongside Luciano Pavarotti and José Carreras, he brought opera to the masses around the world. He has also made forays into the world of popular music, among other things recording the multi-platinum album Perhaps Love with the American singer-songwriter John Denver. Domingo’s varied career also extends beyond singing. Having gained his first experience as a conductor in the 1970s, he has gone on to conduct more than 500 opera performances and concerts with some of the world’s finest orchestras. As artistic director of the Washington National Opera from 1996 until 2011, he brought many new, up-and-coming singers to the stage, including Anna Netrebko, today a world-famous operatic diva. In 2000 he became artistic director of the Los Angeles Opera, in addition to his role in Washington, and three years later became general director of both opera companies.
He has starred in numerous opera films, including Franco Zeffirelli’s La traviata and Otello, both of which received Academy Award nominations. He has even inspired characters in popular television series – the puppet Placido Flamingo in the children’s television show Sesame Street was named after him – while in 2007 he appeared in an episode of the animated series The Simpsons, in which Homer Simpson becomes a successful opera singer and meets Domingo after a performance.
Over the course of his career, he has done much to help the development of young artists. In 1993 he founded Operalia, an international opera competition at which prizewinners have included singers such as Joseph Calleja, José Cura, Erwin Schrott, Joyce DiDonato, Sonya Yoncheva, and many others, for whom victory at this competition has opened the doors into the world of opera.
He has received numerous honorary doctorates, Grammy Awards and other honours for his work. In 2020 he received the Austrian Music Prize, a lifetime achievement award, in Salzburg.
He will be joined at the 69th Ljubljana Festival by the new opera star Saioa Hernández, who achieved international recognition following her debut last year at La Scala in Milan, and Sabina Cvilak, a former member of the Vienna State Opera, who made her US debut at the Washington National Opera in 2007 at Domingo’s invitation and has gone on to sing in many of the world’s most prestigious opera houses. The opera stars will be accompanied by the RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra under the Spanish conductor Jordi Bernàcer, who has been collaborating with Domingo since 2012 and who has previously been assistant to Zubin Mehta, Sir Andrew Davis, Valery Gergiev and Lorin Maazel, among others.
Tickets for the concert are already on sale on the Ljubljana Festival website (ljubljanafestival.si) and at Petrol Group service stations, Eventim ticket offices and the Križanke box office, which reopened to the public on Monday, 3 May.