Tenor Plácido Domingo switches to baritone

Spanish singer triumphs as Verdi's Simon Boccanegra


Plácido Domingo, the world-renowned tenor, has transformed himself into a baritone. The 68 year-old received a standing ovation for his performance of the lead role in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra at the State Opera in Berlin on Saturday evening.

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‘A singer doesn’t sing with only one sound,’ said Domingo to The Times about his unusual move. ‘Like a painter you always have the palette for different colours.’

 Domingo’s switch to the baritone voice was confirmed two years ago when he agreed to sing in the German production of the Verdi opera. At the time it was suggested the move could signal his retirement, but instead Domingo has found himself booked up for the next five years, both as a tenor and a baritone. Although changing voices so late in a career is relatively rare, Domingo began his singing life as a baritone, switching to tenor after a successful audition with Mexican National Opera in 1959.

 The Spanish singer has performed more than 134 operatic roles as a tenor, and he became known round the world as one of the Three Tenors with José Carreras and the late Luciano Pavarotti. He was voted the world’s No. 1 tenor in BBC Music Magazine by a panel of leading experts in April 2008.

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 ‘When you listen to Domingo, you are guaranteed a flood of gorgeous sound, sensitive musicianship, [and] the security of a voice so well looked after that nothing will go wrong,’ wrote critic Michael Tanner.