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Wolf Prize goes to Plácido Domingo and Sir Simon Rattle

17 JAN 2012

published in: General

Plácido Domingo (Photo: Sheila Rock) / Sir Simon Rattle (Photo: Simon Fowler)
The new winners of the renowned Wolf Prize were announced this past week: star tenor Plácido Domingo and conductor Sir Simon Rattle will share the prize, which carries a monetary value of 100,000 dollars. The award ceremony will take place on May 1, 2012 at the Parliament of Israel and will be presided over by President Shimon Peres, according to the press agency dpa, quoting a speaker of the foundation. In its statement, the jury called Domingo one of the greatest tenors of all times and Rattle a conductor with a broad repertoire noted for his high quality of musical execution.
The Wolf Foundation was initiated in 1978 by the German-born inventor, diplomat and philanthropist Ricardo Wolf. In the scientific fields, the Prize is considered a kind of “precursor” for the Nobel Prize. It is awarded annually in four scientific fields and in the arts – this year, the eligible fields were physics, chemistry, medicine, mathematics and music.
Plácido Domingo is the artistic director of the Los Angeles Opera and the Washington Opera. He was born to two zarzuela singers in Madrid and moved to Mexico with his family at the age of eight. He studied piano, singing and conducting at the Conservatory in Mexico City. In 1959 he made his debut as Alfredo at the opera in Monterrey. His Metropolitan Opera debut came in 1968 as Maurizio in Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur, and he has since made about 600 appearances on that stage. Furthermore, he has performed at La Scala Milan, at the Opéra de Paris, the Vienna State Opera, London’s Royal Opera House, at the festivals in Bayreuth and Salzburg as well as on almost all the world’s major stages. His discography includes 101 recordings of complete operas; he won the prestigious Grammy Award eleven times. Plácido Domingo has received many awards and honors during the course of his artistic career: these include numerous honorary doctorates, a Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, an Officier de la Légion d’honneur and the title Capo dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana. Since 1975, Plácido Domingo has appeared regularly at the Salzburg Festival. In 2012, he will perform the role of Bayazet in Handel’s opera Tamerlano in Salzburg.
Sir Simon Rattle, born in 1955 in Liverpool, has been Chief Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic and Artistic Director of Berlin’s Philharmonie since September 2002. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London. After first engagements in England and the USA, Sir Simon Rattle was appointed First Conductor and Artistic Adviser of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO).
Rattle conducts regularly on the world’s great concert stages. At the Salzburg Festival, Sir Simon Rattle made his debut in 1992 conducting the CBSO. Since 2003, he has appeared here every year with the Berlin Philharmonic. As part of the Salzburg Easter Festival, whose artistic director he is, Sir Simon Rattle has led scenic productions of Fidelio, Così fan tutte, Peter Grimes, Pelléas et Mélisande, Wagner’s Ring and most recently Salome, in addition to a concert performance of Idomeneo. At the 2012 Salzburg Festival, Rattle will conduct the opera Carmen, a co-production with the Salzburg Easter Festival.