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Stephen Colbert sings opera with Placido Domingo! [Video]

February 24, 2012 |  7:24 am

Stephen Colbert and Placido Domingo

Satirist Stephen Colbert showed off his singing skills on Thursday's episode of "The Colbert Report" as he teamed with tenor Plácido Domingo for a rendition of one of the most familiar tunes of opera, "La Donna E Mobile," from Verdi's "Rigoletto."

Domingo, who visited Colbert's show between performances of Los Angeles Opera's current production of "Simon Boccanegra," dueted the canzone after asking the tenor for a master class in singing opera.

Domingo sang sweetly in the higher ranges to Colbert's lower notes. Colbert was dressed in white tie and tails with a Pavarotti-style handkerchief in hand. Impressively, he held his own next to the man he earlier had called "the most famous opera singer in the world," flawlessly handling the Italian lyrics.

Before they sang, Domingo seemed delighted to be part of Colbert's schtick. The host praised opera, saying that because operas are so long "you get your money's worth."

When Colbert added "I love the way you opera people soak the snooty crowd with those ticket prices," Domingo seemed both horrified (a little) and amused (a lot).

When the host teased about how long it can take for an opera character to die, he asked Domingo what  was the longest he had ever died on stage.

Domingo, who is general director of L.A. Opera, just happened to mention that would be in "Simon Boccanegra." He said his character, Boccanegra, gets "poisoned in the second act and I die in the third act," getting a laugh from the studio audience.

When asked his favorite role of all time, Domingo was thinking about how to answer, but Colbert was ready to set up the song and quickly injected "Rigoletto." In fact, "Rigolleto" could very well be Domingo's favorite. It was the first opera he performed professionally, according to his website. He sang it in Mexico City in 1959.

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Placido Domingo & Stephen Colbert - "La Donna E Mobile"
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-- Sherry Stern

Photo: Stephen Colbert and Plácido Domingo. Credit: Los Angeles Opera