By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Returning to Rio after a nineteen year absence, world-renowned Spanish tenor and conductor Plácido Domingo will take to the HSBC Arena stage with Puerto Rican soprano Ana María Martínez, Chinese pianist Lang Lang, and the Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira (Brazilian Symphony Orchestra) on Friday, July 11th for the “Concert in Rio 2014.”
The 73-year-old Domingo, who has been called by some critics the greatest tenor of all time, has made over one hundred recordings and sang more than 144 roles during his career. During the show on Friday, in addition to a program of arias, Spanish zarzuelas, and Broadway hits, Domingo will present Brazilian songs including popular sambas and works by famed Carioca composer Heitor Villa-Lobos.
Joining Domingo for the ‘Concert in Rio 2014,’ will be the Orquestra Sinfônica Brasileira. Founded in 1940 by Maestro José Siqueira, it was the first Brazilian orchestra to tour Brazil and internationally and the first to conduct outdoor performances. On Friday, the orchestra will be led by American born pianist and conductor Eugene Kohn.
Also joining the concert will be Puerto Rican soprano Ana María Martínez and Chinese pianist Lang Lang. Martínez won the 2001 Latin Grammy award winner for Best Classical Album and is a regular guest during international shows by both Domingo and singer Andrea Bocelli. Thirty-one-year-old Lang Lang, was a child prodigy, who began playing the piano at the age of three and is now considered one of the most sensational artists in classical music.
Although not officially part of the World Cup schedule, the concert will take place in celebration of the tournament. A well known fan of football (soccer), Domingo has attended, with one exception, every World Cup final match since 1970 and performed during most World Cup tournaments since 1990. “I always think music and sport are the two great things many people can understand without any need to really speak the language,” Domingo told the Associated Press.
His first World Cup show took place on the eve of the final match of the 1990 World Cup held in Italy. Singing with the late Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti and fellow Spanish tenor Jose Carreras, that show marked the debut appearance of the “Three Tenors,” a critically acclaimed concert series that featured the trio singing not only opera arias but also Broadway hits and traditional Neapolitan songs in large arenas and stadiums.
The trio would go on to perform during three additional World Cup tournaments; 1994 in the United States, 1998 in France, and 2002 in Japan. Domingo then performed with soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Rolando Villazon during the 2006 Cup in Germany. During the 2010 Cup, Domingo was unable to perform due to work obligations but was present during matches, including the final game.
“I was only able to attend two matches,” Domingo told the Associated Press. “Fortunately those were two matches that Spain won and became world champions.”
Plácido Domingo was born José Plácido Domingo Embil in 1941, in Madrid, Spain, and although Domingo, at a young age, moved with his family to Mexico City, Mexico, attended that city’s National Conservatory of Music and made his professional opera debut in the country, his love for his country of birth has remained strong throughout his life and the singer is both a devoted fan of Real Madrid and the Spanish national team.
What: ‘Concert in Rio 2014’ with Plácido Domingo
When: Friday, July 11th. Gates open at 8PM and the show begins at 10PM.
Where: HSBC Arena, Av. Embaixador Abelardo Bueno 3401, Barra da Tijuca