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Plácido Domingo recovering after surgery for cancer

12 March 2010

Plácido Domingo (Photo: Sheila Rock)

Plácido Domingo has announced via his official website “that the doctors have given me a clean bill of health, with no follow-up therapies necessary”. His statement follows surgery to remove a ‘malignant localised polyp’ from his colon.

The 69-year-old Spanish tenor was due to have played Bajazet in Handel's Tamerlano at Covent Garden (5-20 March 2010), but pulled out at at short notice when he felt abdominal pains while singing in Tokyo.

Speaking on behalf of Domingo in New York earlier this week, spokeswoman Nancy Seltzer explained that "His exact return to his performing engagements remains subject to how fast he can heal and regain his characteristic strength." 

He is currently still scheduled to sing the title role in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra at La Scala, Milan on 16 April.

News of Domingo’s illness follows recent reports exploring whether his packed international performing schedule combined with general directorship of Washington National Opera and LA Opera is over-taxing. In particular, several commentators have raised concerns that the fortunes of the two opera companies are suffering because Domingo cannot devote adequate time to his duties.

LA Opera recently had to secure a $14 million emergency loan to cover debts accumulated by the company over the past three years, whilst Washington National Opera was forced to eliminate eight staff positions and reduce its number of productions next season from six to five (down from seven in the 2008/09 season).

Speaking to the Los Angeles Times in February, Domingo staunchly defended his relationship with both companies: "Nothing has changed since I started my contracts, both with Washington and then with Los Angeles," he said. "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 man who lives by the personal catchphrase, “If I rest, I rust”, such confidence is characteristic and – so it seems from the message posted on his website – not easily shaken: 

“I can’t go on stage for a few more weeks, but I am spending my time studying and preparing for future engagements. I feel well and am looking forward to performing again as soon as possible. My love to you all. Plácido.”

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