The Spanish tenor Placido Domingo, accused of sexual harassment, is a living opera legend after playing 150 roles in sixty years of an outstanding international career, during which he was also conductor.
Catched up by the #MeToo movement, this prolific 78-year-old singer who, in half a century of his career, has recorded more than 100 albums and has performed more than 4,000 times, is implicated by eight singers and a dancer reproaching her with inappropriate gestures and forced kisses. He described these claims as "disturbing and, as presented, inaccurate".
Born on 21 January 1941 into a family of zarzuelas singers, the traditional Madrid operettas, Placido Domingo was eight years old when his parents moved to Mexico. He studied piano, conducting and then singing at the Conservatoire de musique de Mexico.
The one who will be later described by the international press as "King of the Opera" begins by singing zarzuelas with his parents as a baritone. Then, by dint of work, his tessitura changes and he becomes tenor.
At 18, he plays a small role in Rigoletto, by Giuseppe Verdi, at the National Opera of Mexico.
At the age of 20, in Monterrey, he obtained his first major role, that of Alfredo in La Traviata, before passing with the National Opera of Tel Aviv three seasons during which he will give 280 performances in twelve different roles.
But it was in 1965 that his international career began, under the baton of the greatest conductors including Herbert von Karajan, Riccardo Muti and Claudio Abbado.
- 'Operaholic' -
In 1972, he directed Verdi's La Traviata himself at the New York City Opera and distinguished himself as a conductor on every continent. He will also be music director and then general manager of the Washington Opera, from 1996 to 2011, and general manager of that of Los Angeles from 2000.
But the song will remain his great passion: in 1990, he formed the trio of the "Three Tenors" with Luciano Pavarotti and José Carreras, which will attract during his concerts around the world a huge audience and will help popularize the opera.
The trio performs in particular in Rome, in 1990, for the opening of the World Cup football, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the pyramids of Egypt in Cairo, as well as in the Forbidden City in Beijing .
"Although I sing and work a lot, I have a good vocal technique, I managed my career well and I conducted it with great caution," he told AFP in 2012 to explain his insolent health voice.
"If I rest, I rust," likes to repeat the singer, described as "operaholic" by the American press.
Spain has remained dear to the heart of this big fan of Real Madrid. In 2012, he inaugurated in Andalusia the "Festival Placido Domingo".
He has also put his talent at the service of major humanitarian causes, singing for example the victims of an earthquake in Mexico in 1985 and those of Hurricane Katrina in the United States in 2009.
Placido Domingo has been awarded multiple prizes and decorations, including several Grammy Awards, and the prestigious Spanish Prince of Asturias Award.
© 2019 AFP