Placido Domingo greets his fans in a post-performance marathon
Plácido Domingo has seen all kinds of fan adoration in his 40-plus years in the opera business. But he apparently had not seen anything quite like the crowd waiting to greet him late Wednesday night in downtown Los Angeles.
"Oh my God!" exclaimed the 68-year-old Spanish tenor as he emerged from a stage door and took a glance at the queue that had formed in the lobby of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The line of fans stretched the equivalent distance from the lobby on Grand Avenue to the Music Center fountain.
The famously tireless Domingo had just finished a 3 1/2-hour performance of Handel's "Tamerlano" and showed no signs of fatigue as he began signing copies of the new DVD release "My Greatest Roles," which features his performances in Puccini's "Tosca," "Manon Lescaut" and "La Fanciulla del West." (The first volume of the multi-disc set is on sale now, as is a DVD documentary featuring new interviews with the tenor.)
When asked whether he's watched the DVDs, Domingo admitted, "No, I haven't yet."
Domingo began autographing at 11:40 p.m. and did not finish until about 1:30 a.m. Some fans came bearing gifts. One person gave him a small chocolate turkey. Alison Kaufman, a music student from Palos Verdes who is studying in Boston, gave him a CD of her vocal performances.
A Los Angeles Opera official said all packages that Domingo received will be checked for security purposes.
Gizem Evcin, an opera fan and film student from Istanbul, asked Domingo to sign an LP cover dating from 1968. When handed the album, Domingo smiled and said, "This was my first recording. I recorded it in 1967 and it came out in 1968." The album features Domingo performing selections from various operas.
(Evcin later said that she purchased the LP two weeks ago at a Goodwill store in West L.A. for $1.25.)
Domingo worship was palpable throughout the crowd. "He's adorable!" said Annalisa Gerl, a teacher of German at Santa Monica College. She had asked Domingo to sign a backstage photograph taken of her and the tenor 20 years ago.
To make the line move faster, L.A. Opera handed out Post-it notes to fans so that they could write down to whom they wanted Domingo to dedicate his inscriptions.
A little after 1 a.m., Domingo's wife, Marta, emerged from a stage door, took a look at the line of fans and humorously asked, "OK, how many more?" She embraced her husband and then worked the crowd. At one point, she was heard shouting "Next!"
When the last autograph had been signed, Domingo -- still looking energetic -- posed for a few photographs with fans. A Diet Coke provided to him earlier in the evening remained unopen on a table. He shook hands and said good night to L.A. Opera staff before disappearing backstage.
-- David Ng
Top photo: Domingo with fan Gizem Evcin at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Credit: Steve Cohn
Bottom photo: Domingo signs a DVD cover. Credit: Stefano Paltera / For The Times