Placido Domingo – not all the good die young

In Australia, we did not often have the opportunity to listen live to the heroes of the operatic stage. Yes we were blessed with the return of Joan Sutherland later in her career. But, only once did I have the opportunity to hear Placido Domingo live in Australia.

It was in 1997 in Melbourne at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the open air, and the three tenors blessed us with their magnificent voices and, in the case of Domingo, also fine acting. Their ‘competitive’ rendering of the Pavarotti’s theme song, Nessun Dorme, is still etched into my memory.

Domingo, now just 75, is known as the most versatile of all tenor/baritones, having started his career as a light baritone in operetta, spread his repertoire to cover all the great tenor roles plus Wagner, and finally adding key baritone roles.

Yet my favourite memory of Placido is from Tel Aviv, the city where he launched his tenor career in the early sixties and really learned his art. He returned occasionally to give performances and it was during the 80’s that I was fortunate enough to be in Israel when he gave an open-air performance in Hayarkon Park.

Yes, I have seen him perform in more illustrious venues but these memories are dimmer compared to those from the two open air performances.

Long may we still hear his voice in live performance and even longer share this world.