Today in Music History
A Daily Look at Music History For Violin Students

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Long, Long Ago . . . Or Maybe Just Last Year
January 21
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Placido Domingo was born January 21, 1941, in Madrid, Spain. His parents were zarzuela (Spanish light opera dating from 1657) stars in Spain. In 1946, Domingo's parents left his sister and him with an aunt in Spain, so they could tour Puerto Rico, Mexico and Cuba professionally.
They fell in love with Mexican hospitality and culture and, in 1949 moved the family to Guadalajara to form their own zarzuela company. There Placido began voice and piano lessons.  While a teenager he sang in the company's chorus.  After several setbacks, the company finally achieved success.

Domingo studied at the Mexico City Conservatory and played piano in nightclubs for experience. He loved sports,  and played baseball and soccer for the Mexico City Conservatory sport teams.  When he was only 16, he married a fellow conservatory pianist.  His son, Jose, was born in 1958. Domingo joined the National Opera in Mexico City at the age of 18.

Domingo's stage debut in a major role occurred September 23, 1959 in Mexico City. He sang the part of Borsa in Verdi's Rigoletto. In 1962, he auditioned for the Tel Aviv opera, and became the lead tenor. He expanded his career by playing diverse roles in various languages in the 1960's when he travelled and performed on many of the world's great stages. His charismatic stage presence quickly won the public's acclaim.

In 1967, Domingo met Luciano Pavarotti.  At the time, Pavarotti was the leading Italian opera tenor, concentrating on Italian roles and signed exclusively with Decca records. Domingo remained more flexible with varied roles and recording with many music labels.  The two great tenors made their debuts at the Metropolitan Opera, in New York, within weeks of one another in the fall of 1968.  Throughout the ?70s and ?80s, journalists painted them as operatic competitors on the world stage. Domingo was open to stages other than the opera.  He appeared in television shows and recorded with popular artists like John Denver. He gained an even greater audience by performing with Luciano Pavarotti and Jose Carreras in the commercially successful "Three Tenor Concert" in Rome, Italy, July 7, 1990.

Domingo has added the baton and conductor's podium to his repertoire. He conducts, and is the artistic director, of the Los Angeles Opera. In 1996, became the artistic director of the Washington Opera. He also oversees an upscale Spanish restaurant in Upper East Side New York City.

Domingo's heroic roles are not limited to stage. He lost several family members in the 1985 Mexico City earthquake. Upon hearing the news, Domingo flew to Mexico City to help rescue workers dig out victims.  He was emotionally and physically shaken by the tragedy, but continued to do whatever he could to help the people of Mexico City. He raised $2 million for the Mexico City disaster fund. He was honored by the president of Mexico with its highest honor, the Order of the Aztec Eagle, for his humanitarian work. He also does work to assist the Latino community of Los Angeles, California.

Domingo published his autobiography, My First Forty Years, in 1983, and received the honor of a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame in 1993.
Placido Domingo
Click Picture to Hear Placido Domingo Sing at
Placido Domingo is a great operatic tenor.  He also conducts and is music director for opera companies.  He owns a restaurant.  But in his youth, he briefly considered a different profession.  Can You Guess the other profession he considered?
Go to the Bottom of the Page for the Answer.
Yes!  Placido Sings Mariachi!
1888(9) -  "Leadbelly" -Huddie Ledbetter, Blues vocals/guitar, was born.

1899 - Alexander Tcherepnin, Russian composer, was born.  Wrote a concerto for harmonica.

1938 -  "Wolfman Jack", disk jockey, was born.

1942 - Mac Davis, US singer/songwriter was born.

1948 - Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, opera composer, died.
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