Hailed as the "King of Opera," Placido Domingo has carved a unique place in the entertainment world. He's a revered opera star for which he's won multiple Grammy Awards. He's been honored by the world's leaders, and he's even been immortalized with a statue for raising millions of dollars for humanitarian causes.
But nothing gives Domingo more satisfaction than mentoring to young artists. For this reason he was in Miami on Sunday, teaching a master class at YoungArts, the national organization that nurtures young talent. "I was delighted to do it because mentoring is the most beautiful thing in the world," he told Examiner.com.
"When I was growing up, my mentors were the old singers and my parents, who were both singers," he said. Indeed, the Spanish-born tenor was raised in Mexico, where is parents had a zarzuela company. Zarzuela is a popular Latin genre that incorporates opera, popular song and dance. At the age of 16, Domingo made his professional debut performing with his mother.
Domingo made his U.S. debut in 1961 and, seven years later, he officially debuted at the Metropolitan Opera, launching a career that would be packed with remarkable achievements. But, along the way, he also pondered how to give back.
Domingo realized that, although talent is very important, it is not enough. Even the most talented young singers need guidance, he realized. And so he began establishing programs that would fill this need.
In 1993, he established the Operalia World Opera Competition to find the next generation of opera stars. He also founded the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, which is an artist-in-residence program at the Washington National Opera, where Domingo had served as general director. He established a similar program at the Los Angeles Opera, where he remains general director.
He also sponsors a performance center in Valencia, Spain, to provide vocal training for opera students in Spain, the European Union, and the rest of the world. And, in Miami, he is increasingly becoming involved in Miami's YoungArts program as well.
During the interview, Domingo also paid homage to another important mentor, which is, he said, "my wife." Domingo is married to lyric soprano Marta Ornelas. Although she was voted the "Mexican Singer of the Year," she gave up her career to raise their family. "My wife is also my mentor," said Domingo, adding, "And we've been married 50 years."
More info: YoungArts