Now he's a baritone, he's got a new record contract

Now he's a baritone, he's got a new record contract


norman lebrecht

September 22, 2011

Sony Classical have just announced the signing of an exclusive new artist.

His name’s Placido Domingo, and they don’t breathe a word about repertory. Not a whisper or a tease.

So what’s it going to be – a late reprise of his tenor glories at the age of 70? More likely a baritone rumble and a bit of conducting.

We’ll let you know as soon as we hear more. Meanwhile, here’s the press release:

Sony Classical is proud to announce the signing of an exclusive recording contract with Plácido Domingo. This new agreement brings the legendary singer back to the company where his unparalleled recording career started in the late 1960s. Sony Classical’s catalog boasts many of his milestone recordings, and the renewed collaboration between Mr. Domingo and the label promises to explore new repertoire areas and showcase fascinating new aspects of this great artist.

His work in the recording studio has earned Plácido Domingo 12 Grammy Awards, including 3 Latin Grammys. His discography consists of more than 100 recordings of complete operas, compilations of arias and duets as well as crossover projects. He has also made more than 50 music videos.

This world-renowned, multifaceted artist is not just recognized as one of the finest and most influential singing actors in the history of opera, he is also a conductor and a major force as an opera administrator (he is general director of LA Opera and has led Washington National Opera for 15 years). As a singer, the extraordinary breadth of his repertoire ranges from opera and zarzuela to Broadway musicals and contemporary ballads. In opera, it encompasses 137 roles, a number unmatched by any other tenor in history, with more than 3500 career performances.

Plácido Domingo’s fame extends far beyond the confines of the operatic world. His celebrated “Three Tenors” concerts with Luciano Pavarotti and José Carreras at three consecutive soccer World Cup Finals have been seen by billions across the globe and his “Christmas in Vienna” TV specials have been international best-sellers on CD and DVD. He performed at the closing ceremonies of both the 2006 World Cup in Berlin and the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. In addition to three feature opera films — Carmen, La Traviata and Otello — he voiced the role of Monte in Disney’s Beverly Hills Chihuahua, played himself on The Simpsons, and his telecast of Tosca from the authentic settings in Rome was seen by audiences in 117 countries.

Mr. Domingo is feted for his charity work, giving numerous benefit concerts and performances every year for a variety of worthy causes.

In 1993, he also founded the international voice competition Operalia, recognized throughout the business as the world’s most important platform for the discovery of new singers.

Plácido Domingo said: “I am thrilled to be establishing an exclusive recording relationship with Sony Music. Sony and its predecessors (Columbia, CBS, RCA/BMG) have played such an important part in much of my career, yet I have not had an exclusive contract with any company in nearly forty years. Finding a permanent home for my future recordings appeals to me very much, and this steady relationship will enable Sony Classical and myself to create a variety of new, innovative, and fascinating musical projects, many of them in repertoire that I have never recorded before. In this way, we are moving forward with hope and trust in the future of the music industry.”

Doug Morris, CEO of Sony Music Entertainment, stated: “Plácido Domingo is a true music icon and we are delighted to welcome him to the Sony Music family. The addition of one of the world’s most beloved and successful vocalists to the Sony Classical roster underscores our continuing commitment to building our classical music business, and further strengthens our line-up of world-class artists.”

Bogdan Roscic, President of Sony Classical, said: “Plácido Domingo surely is one of the defining artists of the recorded music era, in opera and beyond. He has created what is possibly the most comprehensive and diverse discography of any singer since the beginning of that era. It will be a privilege to work with him as we start adding new recordings to this astonishing body of work.”



  • ariel says:

    There was a great moment in history when a gentleman asked “Have you no shame ?” Obviously
    not at this record company – perhaps they could package the tenor -baritone whatever with the former
    glorious soprano voice of Florence Foster Jenkins and have a real top selling record duo .
    It is so beyond pathetic .Notice it is careful to call things as they see it “business”and industry .
    The art of singing does not enter the picture

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Ariel, Florence Foster Jenkins was a joke. Domingo is not. Can you possibly compare his artistry and service to music with Jenkins? Are you kidding?

    • Ed Rosen says:

      But Domingo is quickly becoming a joke by refusing to retire. There is no operatic role that he can sing well today, and the same holds true for the past 10-15 years. The tenor roles of his youth (which were always too high for him) are now MUCH too high for him. His newly acquired baritone roles do not have anything near the baritone heft needed, and which Verdi demanded. His conducting is and always has been a joke. What is he going to do on his new recordings? Perhaps he will become a stand up comedian and tell jokes. This way the laughter these recordings will elicit might be just a little bit more understandable.

    • Ariel says:

      No I am not kidding – Ms. Jenkins was dead serious and believed with her whole heart that she was a
      good singer and practiced with much devotion to fulfill the composers’ musical intention – This from a great singer
      who knew Ms. Jenkins – acknowledging at the same time while the singing by Ms. Jenkins was execrable she never short changed her audience. The audience did come to laugh and in the end she received
      a :
      “true” standing ovation ( in the days when it meant something ) not for her singing but her determination and
      honesty in serving the music however misguided . Not for fame or ego – she was oblivious to that -nor money -she
      had plenty and more – but for the love of singing music as best she could however misguided . At her death
      a touching article in the leading paper commenting that perhaps a tip of the hat was due not for her singing but
      devotion and honesty to the art ,and that a few Met “stars” might take notice of that -when next they telephone in a performance. She gave everything however hilarious it turned out and I doubt she would ever have
      thought of degrading Puccini to the level of yowling that gave us the 3 tenors garbage . In that respect alone
      she was the artist Domingo never was , nor the joke that he has become .

    • ariel says:

      Petros Linardos – Have tried to answer your question “are you kidding ” , but it appears the response
      did not meet with approval and was met with censorship.

      • ariel says:

        Guess not – with apology to Mr.Lebrecht.

        • Petros Linardos says:

          Ariel, thank you for your clarification. I respectfully disagree on the big picture. While I have no appreciateion for Domingo’s crossover work, including the three tenors concerts, I still admire his proper operatic performances. He may not be, say, my ideal Boccanegra, but I can still take him very seriously. Whatever his vocal decline, he still has a lot to offer musically. I had the same feeling about Fischer-Dieskau in his late years, but not about Pavarotti. I always found Pavarotti’s appeal in his radiant voice and not in his musicianship, however fine at his best moments. So as Pavarotti’s voice declined, to me he sounded like a shadow of his former self.

          • Janey says:

            I agree about Domingo, Petros. I admire and respect him for much of what he has done and is doing. I don’t understand the mockery of some. I also agree to a large extent with your thoughts on Pavarotti – he seemed a novelty act toward the end of his career and it was difficult to watch.

  • Emil Archambault says:

    Do you know why he left? He was at EMI, right?