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Domingo is promoted in D.C. too

May 17, 2003|Christopher Reynolds | Times Staff Writer

Placido Domingo's resume has never looked better. But some of his colleagues and admirers may be excused for confusion over its contents.

On Thursday, the Los Angeles Opera announced with fanfare Domingo's promotion from artistic director to general director, a move recognizing the tenor-administrator's increased control of the company's artistic and business sides. Before the day was over, officials at the Washington Opera were abruptly proclaiming that they too had promoted Domingo from artistic director to general director.

"We were originally just thinking in terms of doing this later," Washington Opera board president Michael Sonnenreich said Friday. But when word spread of Domingo's promotion in Los Angeles, Sonnenreich said, he decided to signal Domingo's enduring commitment to Washington.

Domingo has long-standing ties to both companies, and multiple affiliations have become a fact of life for leading performers in the opera and orchestra worlds. But the Washington announcement startled officials at the Los Angeles Opera, who expected that information to emerge later. Los Angeles Opera Chairman Marc Stern said his board had voted to boost Domingo's title on May 14 after months of talks with Domingo.

In Washington, Sonnenreich said his organization's board, having gotten wind of plans at the Los Angeles Opera, voted privately on April 10 to give Domingo the higher title, effective in September. Domingo's new responsibilities there are "a work in progress."

Domingo, 62, said Friday that the new titles will mean more time in the cities, but will not change the triangle of travel that has increasingly defined his professional life.

"New York, Los Angeles and Washington," he said. "If we could shrink the country a little bit, it would be easier, but I am used to the trips. And little by little, the singing will be less."

Added Domingo: "I don't think that I will sing more than three more years in the opera. This is very clear now in my mind."

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