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The World's Greatest Tenors - Placido Domingo

Updated on October 19, 2012

The World's Greatest Tenors - Placido Domingo

The World's Greatest Tenors

5 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Placido Domingo


The World’s Greatest Tenors – Placido Domingo

I first heard of Placido Domingo sometime in the late 1960s through a classical record club that I was a member of. The brochure said that he was potentially the next Caruso, I don’t recall the record now. I do remember being impressed with his voice but I didn’t believe what the record label claimed.


Placido Domingo was pretty young then, probably in his late 20s because he was born in Madrid, Spain in 1941. He had already made his debut with the New York City Opera on June 17, 1965, in the role of B F Pinkerton in Madame Butterfly.


He made his debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1968 when he substituted for Franco Corelli in Adriana Lecouvreur singing with Renata Tebaldi. His main competition then was the magnificent tenor Richard Tucker but soon he would be compared to another great tenor, Luciano Pavarotti, who debuted at the Met in 1972.


In spite of this stiff competition, he managed to hang around for more than 3500 career performances with a repertoire of 136 roles - more than any other tenor and he still performs at more than 70 years of age.


This is a good time to present two of his recordings so that you can judge for yourself if Domingo is the next Caruso. Here are two Caruso standards sung by Domingo:

"Una Furtiva Lagrima" from L[Elisir D'Amore by Donizetti and

"E lucevan le stelle" from Tosca by Puccini


Una Furtiva Lagrima

E lucevan le stelle


Jose Placido Domingo Embil was born on January 21, 1941, in Madrid Spain. In 1949, his family moved to Mexico where he studied piano. He made his first professional appearance in 1957 performing at a concert with his mother.


In 1959, he auditioned for the Mexico National Opera as a baritone but was persuaded to switch over to tenor. From 1962 through 1965 he sang 12 different roles and 280 performances with the Israel National Opera in Tel Aviv.


I had the good fortune of hearing Placido Domingo perform live on two occasions. Once was when he sang a role in a less than memorable opera in Detroit. The other time was also in Detroit when he appeared with the Three Tenors at Tiger Stadium in 1999. He was in fine form that night, although it is impossible to upstage Pavarotti. Domingo had put on some weight and that seemed to actually improve his singing.


The following two recordings show Domingo's Spanish Heritage and the influemce of the Italians:

"Granada" and "O Sole Mio"



O Sole Mio


In addition to all of the operas that he has performed, he also managed to record more than 100 complete operas and his recordings have won him 12 Grammy awards. He has also conducted more than 450 operas and concerts. In 1993, he founded "Operalia", an international voice competition.


When most singers have retired, he continues to remain active. He celebrated his 70th birthday with a gala concert, which was arranged by the king and queen of Spain. During the 2011/2012 season he conducted Romeo et Julliete and sang the title role in Simon Boccanegra with the Los Angeles Opera Company. He is truly one of the world’s greatest tenors.


Finally, we conclude with the aria that was Pavarotti’s signature song:

"Nessun Dorma" from Turandot by Puccini.


Nessun dorma

Madrid, Spain Montage

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    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for the information about Placido Domingo and for sharing his beautiful and moving music. He has a magnificent voice.

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 

      6 years ago from Southern Nevada

      All the tenors voices are great, I loved Luciano Pavarotti, it's a great shame he couldn't weight for his health.

      Voted up and beautiful, Joyce.


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