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Domingo to leave Washington National Opera in June 2011

29 September 2010, Washington DC, USA

Plácido Domingo
Plácido Domingo(Photo: Bart Everly)

Plácido Domingo has decided not to renew his contract as general director of Washington National Opera (WNO) when it expires in June 2011.

The 69-year-old Spanish tenor has been WNO’s artistic director since 1996 and general director since 2003.

Under his leadership, the company is widely recognised as having risen from the ranks of good regional companies to being a world-class organisation.

However, this growth has come at a high cost, and over recent months Domingo has been criticised in the media for spreading himself too thinly between WNO and Los Angeles Opera, where he has just renewed his contract as general director for another two years.

His decision not to renew with WNO comes at a time when the company is rumoured to be exploring a merger with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in order to ease its debt burden of US$11 million.

Domingo’s official statement to WNO’s Board of Trustees, issued by the company’s press office, said:

“For the last 14 seasons, I have had the great pleasure of leading Washington National Opera. It has been a long and fruitful collaboration, and although I will continue to help the company artistically in any way possible, the current season will be my last as General Director. I am proud of what WNO has achieved and want to thank everyone—the Board, staff and especially our audiences—for their love and support.”

Paying tribute to Domingo in what appears to have been an amicable split, WNO’s President, Kenneth R. Feinberg, stated:

“We appreciate all that Plácido Domingo has done for our great company. He will be missed, but all good things must come to an end. Plácido’s association with WNO was essential to the company’s artistic development and helped it to gain recognition nationally and internationally. While today’s news may mark the end of the formal marriage, we are looking forward to artistic collaborations in the future.”

Domingo is scheduled to sing the role of Oreste in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride as well as conducting Madama Butterfly and Don Pasquale during WNO’s 2010-11 Season.


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