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Placido Domingo -- overextended?

February 20, 2010 | 10:30 am


When people ask Plácido Domingo how he maintains his relentless pace — jetting around the world, performing in countless roles, conducting, singing at special events, raising funds and running opera companies on both coasts — he’s fond of reciting a personal maxim.

“When I rest,” he tells them, “I rust.”

Colleagues and associates agree that the superstar Spanish tenor, at age 69, still is blessed with iron-clad reserves of stamina. Barry Sanders, a longtime L.A. Opera board member, recalls watching Domingo perform in “Parsifal" in Germany mere hours after he sang at the closing ceremonies of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

“What he does is superhuman,” Sanders said. “I hear from his manager that he closes his eyes and can almost sleep standing up. I will accept, because I’ve seen it in action, that this man is different in his constitution.”

Nonetheless, in recent weeks, questions have been raised in East Coast newspaper articles as to whether Domingo’s whirlwind schedule and plethora of professional commitments may be overtaxing him, as well as affecting the artistic and financial performance of the Los Angeles Opera and the Washington National Opera, the two companies he oversees. In an interview, Domingo calmly but categorically rejected those claims.

“Nothing has changed since I started my contracts, both with Washington and then with Los Angeles,” he said. “I have worked very hard for the company. Really, I’m very proud that both companies, they have really grown. And the only problem that we have right now is the fact that we are generally, globally, in a crisis.”

For a full report in the Arts & Books section, click here.

--Reed Johnson

Photo: Noel Vasquez / Getty Images