112 Facts About Placido Domingo


Jose Placido Domingo Embil was born on 21 January 1941 and is a Spanish opera singer, conductor, and arts administrator.

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Placido Domingo has recorded over a hundred complete operas and is well known for his versatility, regularly performing in Italian, French, German, Spanish, English and Russian in the most prestigious opera houses in the world.

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Placido Domingo starred in many cinematically released and televised opera movies, particularly under the direction of Franco Zeffirelli.

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Placido Domingo increasingly conducts operas and concerts and was the general director of the Los Angeles Opera in California from 2017 to 2019.

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Placido Domingo was initially the artistic director and later general director of the Washington National Opera from 1996 to 2011.

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Placido Domingo has been involved in numerous humanitarian works, as well as efforts to help young opera singers, including starting and running the international singing competition, Operalia.

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Placido Domingo was born on 21 January 1941 in the Retiro district of Madrid, Spain.

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Placido Domingo's mother recalled that she and her husband knew he would be a musician from the age of five, due to his ability to hum complex music from a zarzuela after seeing a performance of it.

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Placido Domingo studied piano from a young age, at first privately and later at the National Conservatory of Music in Mexico City, which he entered when he was fourteen.

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In 1957, at age sixteen, Placido Domingo made his first professional appearance, accompanying his mother on the piano at a concert at Merida, Yucatan.

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In 1959, Placido Domingo auditioned for the Mexico National Opera at the Palacio de Bellas Artes as a baritone, but was then asked to sight-read the tenor aria "Amor ti vieta" from Fedora.

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Placido Domingo was accepted at the National Opera as a tenor comprimario and as a tutor for other singers.

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Placido Domingo later appeared as the Padre Confessor in Dialogues of the Carmelites, Altoum and Pang in Turandot, Normanno and Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor among other small parts.

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Placido Domingo made his debut in Verdi's Otello at Bellas Artes at age 21 in the summer of 1962 not in the title role for which he has now been internationally famous for decades as one of its greatest interpreters, but in the small comprimario part of Cassio.

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Placido Domingo acted in a few small parts while at the theater in plays by Federico Garcia Lorca, Luigi Pirandello, and Anton Chekhov.

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Placido Domingo provided song arrangements and backup vocals for Los Camisas Negras in the late 1950s, a rock-and-roll band led by Cesar Costa.

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In 1961, Placido Domingo made his operatic debut in a leading role as Alfredo in La traviata at the Teatro de la Ciudad in Monterrey.

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Placido Domingo was hired to make his New York debut as Don Jose in Bizet's Carmen with the company, but his debut came earlier than expected on 17 June 1965 when he filled in for an ailing tenor at the last minute in Puccini's Madama Butterfly.

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Placido Domingo made his debut at the Vienna State Opera in 1967; at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1968; at both La Scala and San Francisco Opera in 1969; at Arena di Verona on July 16,1969 as Calaf in Turandot with Birgit Nilsson; at the Philadelphia Lyric Opera Company in 1970; and at Covent Garden in 1971.

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In 1975, Placido Domingo debuted at the prestigious Salzburg Festival, singing the title role in Don Carlo in an all-star cast with Nicolai Ghiaurov, Piero Cappuccilli, Mirella Freni and Christa Ludwig with Herbert von Karajan conducting.

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Thereafter Placido Domingo frequently returned to Salzburg for a number of operas, as well as for several concert performances.

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Placido Domingo has now sung at practically every important opera house and festival worldwide.

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Placido Domingo first sang Mario Cavaradossi in Puccini's Tosca in a 1961 performance in Mexico City.

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Placido Domingo sang Cavaradossi at the Met on February 15,1969 with Nilsson.

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Placido Domingo continued to sing the part for many years, especially at the Met and in Vienna, eventually performing it more than any other of his roles.

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In September 1975, Placido Domingo debuted in the title role of Verdi's Otello at the Hamburg State Opera.

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Placido Domingo recorded the part three times in the studio and appeared in four officially released filmed versions of the opera.

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Placido Domingo has conducted operas and occasionally symphony orchestras as well.

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Placido Domingo increasingly began to appear as a conductor at major opera houses around the world.

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Placido Domingo followed this success with many more albums of popular and Latin music.

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Placido Domingo expressed the hope that his popular albums would expand his fan base in a way that would eventually lead more people to discover opera.

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Placido Domingo was interviewed on many talk shows and news programs, including The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and 60 Minutes.

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Placido Domingo had worked with the film's director, former Academy Award nominee Franco Zeffirelli, previously in staged opera productions.

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In 1984, Placido Domingo filmed the role of Don Jose in Francesco Rosi's movie version of Carmen in his native Spain.

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Placido Domingo considered Carmen the best of the three, although he disagreed with the director's "low conception" of his character.

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Placido Domingo found La traviata to be "impressive", but expressed displeasure over cuts to the music in Zeffirelli's Otello.

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That same year, Placido Domingo appeared at the Metropolitan Opera's opening night performance of Bellini's Norma.

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Placido Domingo asked to be released from his contract, but eventually decided to sing four of the six performances in the run with his friend James Levine conducting, including one performance that was telecast.

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Placido Domingo asked Domingo to replace him at 4 pm He quickly flew from New York to San Francisco, rushed to the opera house, and appeared in the role at 10:30 in the evening.

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Opening night of the following Met season, Placido Domingo returned to the role of Wagner's Lohengrin, which he had last sung in early 1968.

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Placido Domingo had originally dropped the role from his repertoire after he felt his voice had been temporarily damaged by learning the challenging opera.

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Placido Domingo performed the role at the Vienna State Opera in 1985 and 1990.

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Placido Domingo had encouraged Menotti to make the opera about the Spanish painter Francisco Goya, whose life fascinated the singer.

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Since the 1990s Placido Domingo has continued adding new roles to his growing repertoire, while dropping earlier parts.

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Placido Domingo continued to sing these roles for almost two decades, including at the Bayreuth Festival.

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Placido Domingo himself worked to popularize Franco Alfano's infrequently performed Cyrano de Bergerac a few years later.

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Additionally, Placido Domingo created several new roles in modern operas, such as the title role in Tan Dun's 2006 opera The First Emperor at the Metropolitan Opera, which was broadcast worldwide into movie theaters as part of the Met Live in HD series.

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Placido Domingo presented the song live at the Bernabeu Stadium during celebrations of the football club's 100 year anniversary.

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On 13 May 2012, Placido Domingo performed during Real Madrid's season-ending celebrations, when the team won their 32nd Spanish league title.

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On 24 August 2008, Placido Domingo performed a duet with Song Zuying, singing Ai de Huoyan at the 2008 Summer Olympics closing ceremony in Beijing.

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Placido Domingo sang before Benedict XVI, during the pope's visit to Nationals Park and the Italian embassy in Washington DC on 16 and 17 April 2008.

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In March 2011, Placido Domingo cancelled an engagement in Buenos Aires at the Teatro Colon in support of the theatre's musicians, who were on strike.

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Placido Domingo began an affiliation with the Washington National Opera in 1986, when he appeared in its world premiere production of Menotti's Goya.

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Placido Domingo assumed the position of General Director of the company in 2003.

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Placido Domingo attempted to quash criticism in East Coast newspapers that he was taking on too much when the singer gave an interview in the Los Angeles Times in which he restated his long-time motto, "When I rest, I rust".

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Placido Domingo announced in 2007 that two years later he would take on one of Verdi's most demanding baritone roles, singing the title role in Simon Boccanegra.

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Placido Domingo appeared as Doge Francesco Foscari in Verdi's I due Foscari in a production directed by Thaddeus Strassberger for the Los Angeles Opera in September 2012, in Valencia in early 2013, and at Covent Garden in late 2014.

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Placido Domingo first sang the title role of Verdi's Nabucco at Covent Garden in March–April 2013 and has since reprised it in Saint Petersburg, Beijing, Verona, and Vienna.

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On 13 June 2018, Placido Domingo performed at the 2018 FIFA World Cup opening gala concert in Moscow held at the Red Square in Moscow, with Anna Netrebko, Juan Diego Florez and Aida Garifullina and the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev.

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Placido Domingo's father was half Aragonese and half Catalan, while his mother was a Basque from Gipuzkoa.

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Placido Domingo's father began as a violinist performing for opera and zarzuela orchestras.

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Placido Domingo's mother was an established soprano who made her stage debut at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona.

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Placido Domingo met her husband at age 21 while performing in Federico Moreno Torroba's Sor Navarra.

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Placido Domingo later recalled that experts encouraged his father to sing Wagnerian heldentenor roles, while the Liceu offered his mother a contract to sing opera.

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In 1946 Moreno Torroba and Placido Domingo's parents formed a zarzuela company and toured in Latin America.

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On 29 August 1957 at age 16, Placido Domingo married a fellow piano student, Ana Maria Guerra Cue.

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On 1 August 1962, Placido Domingo married Marta Ornelas was born on 1935, and a lyric soprano from Veracruz, Mexico, whom he met during his conservatory days.

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On 22 March 2020, Placido Domingo announced during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico that he had tested positive for COVID-19, which he reportedly contracted at a party in Tequila, Jalisco in honor of Juan Placido Domingo Beckmann, who tested positive.

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Placido Domingo was admitted to a hospital in Acapulco to treat complications of the disease but his condition was stable.

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In late February 2020, Placido Domingo apologized to any colleagues who felt uncomfortable or in any way hurt by his comments or actions.

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Placido Domingo has made over 200 recordings, most of which are full-length operas; he has recorded nearly all of opera's leading tenor roles, several of them more than once.

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Placido Domingo followed Il trovatore with a steady stream of complete recorded operas from the 1970s through the early years of the next century.

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Placido Domingo has recorded the vocal parts in many symphonic works and has conducted on some of his albums.

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Since the early 1980s, Placido Domingo has released several Latin albums, including two featuring the music of Mexican songwriter, Agustin Lara.

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Placido Domingo devoted two more of his albums, Adoro and 100 anos de Mariachi, solely to Mexican music.

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Placido Domingo later recalled that, as a fan of mariachi music since boyhood, the Grammy he won for 100 anos de Mariachi was the award that meant the most to him of all he has received.

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Placido Domingo has made various opera films for television, including Jean-Pierre Ponnelle's Madama Butterfly with Mirella Freni, Gianfranco de Bosio's Tosca with Raina Kabaivanska, Giuseppe Patroni Griffi's Tosca with Catherine Malfitano, Franco Zeffirelli's Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci, and more recently, Marco Bellocchio's Rigoletto a Mantova.

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Placido Domingo has appeared often in televised performances from other opera houses.

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Placido Domingo appeared on The Cosby Show Season 5 as Alberto Santiago, a colleague of Dr Cliff Huxtable.

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In 1989, the international television series Return Journey featured Placido Domingo returning to his home city of Madrid reflecting on life there whilst recording an album of Zarzuela arias for EMI.

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Placido Domingo had previously presented the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film with Faye Dunaway at the 57th Academy Awards in 1985.

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Placido Domingo was the executive producer of the critically acclaimed 1998 Mexican film The Other Conquest, produced by his son Alvaro and directed by Salvador Carrasco, in which Placido Domingo sang the original aria "Mater Aeterna", composed by Samuel Zyman with lyrics by Carrasco.

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Placido Domingo was heard performing the song "In Pace", during the closing credits of Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet.

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In 2008, Placido Domingo provided the voice of the long-haired Chihuahua named Montezuma in Disney's Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

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Placido Domingo appeared as Manolo's great-grandfather in the animated film The Book of Life in 2014.

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In December 1992, Placido Domingo collaborated with fellow operatic tenor and friend Jose Carreras and pop music legend Diana Ross in a televised Christmas-themed concert.

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Placido Domingo returned to Vienna for many more Christmas in Vienna concerts, performing with stars and friends of both pop and classical music, including Dionne Warwick, Charles Aznavour, Sissel Kyrkjebø, Michael Bolton, Sarah Brightman, Charlotte Church, Natalie Cole, Riccardo Cocciante, Patricia Kaas, Luciano Pavarotti, Tony Bennett and others.

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In 2007, Placido Domingo had a cameo role on The Simpsons, the longest running American scripted prime time television series and winner of over thirty Emmy Awards.

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Placido Domingo provided the voice for an animated version of himself in the episode "The Homer of Seville", which revolves around Homer Simpson becoming an opera singer.

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The real-life Placido Domingo was mentioned as part of a running gag on the 1996 Seinfeld episode, "The Doll".

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Placido Domingo was referenced several times throughout the sitcom series Everybody Loves Raymond as Raymond's mother, Marie's, favorite opera singer.

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Placido Domingo has sung 151 roles in Italian, French, German, English, Spanish and Russian.

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Placido Domingo has appeared in more operas by Giuseppe Verdi than any other composer.

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Placido Domingo has created original roles in eight world premieres of operas, Vasquez's El ultimo sueno, Moreno Torroba's El poeta, Menotti's Goya, Garcia Abril's Divinas palabras, Cano's Luna, Drattell's Nicholas and Alexandra, Tan Dun's The First Emperor, and Catan's Il Postino, as well as one pasticcio, The Enchanted Island.

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Placido Domingo performed in the US premieres of Don Rodrigo and Cyrano de Bergerac.

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Placido Domingo continues to add more roles to his repertoire, most recently performing as Schicchi in Puccini's one-act opera Gianni Schicchi in September 2015.

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Placido Domingo has received many awards and honors for his achievement in the field of music and in recognition of his many benefit concerts and contributions to various charities.

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In 1978, when Placido Domingo was only 37, the city of Madrid dedicated a commemorative plaque at his birthplace at 34 Calle Ibiza near the Buen Retiro Park.

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Placido Domingo has received the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, 1st class ; Grand Decoration of Honour in Silver for Services to the Republic of Austria ; Commander of the French Legion d'honneur; Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle; Spanish Prince of Asturias Award for Arts ; the United States Presidential Medal of Freedom; and in 2011, a Medal of Honour from Sultan Qaboos bin Said of Oman.

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In June 2018, Iberia Airlines honored Placido Domingo by placing his name on their first Airbus A350 delivered to the Airline.

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Placido Domingo has been heavily involved in humanitarian efforts and volunteerism.

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Placido Domingo has given many benefit concerts for disaster relief, charities, and musical organizations, as well as served in various voluntary positions in the artistic and sports worlds.

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In 1986, Placido Domingo performed at several benefit concerts to raise funds for the victims of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake.

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Placido Domingo released an album of one of the events for charity.

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Since the earthquake, Placido Domingo has continued to do charitable work in Mexico and other countries.

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On 4 March 2006, Placido Domingo sang at the New Orleans Opera Association's Gala Benefit Concert, "A Night For New Orleans", to help rebuild the city after it was partially destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

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Early the following year, Placido Domingo performed with the New Orleans Opera in a gala reopening the theatre.

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In June 2010 Placido Domingo became President of Europa Nostra, the Voice of Cultural Heritage in Europe, which helps to promote European high culture.

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The following year, FIFA president Sepp Blatter invited Placido Domingo to join a council intended to clean up the football governing body, which had been accused of taking bribes from countries that wanted to stage the World Cup.

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Placido Domingo has especially tried to aid the development of young opera singers' careers.

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In particular, Placido Domingo has performed frequently with Mexican tenor Rolando Villazon, who won three prizes at the 1999 Operalia competition.

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Beyond Operalia, Placido Domingo has been instrumental in giving many young artists encouragement and special attention, as in 2001, when he invited the so-called "Singing Policeman", New York tenor Daniel Rodriguez, to attend the Vilar-Placido Domingo Young Artists program to develop his operatic skills.

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