28 January 2013
Placido Domingo has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the Universidad Europea. Real Madrid President, Florentino Perez and Third Vice-president, Pedro Lopez Jimenez attended the ceremony in which the tenor and General Director of the Washington National Opera and the Los Angeles Opera received the highest academic distinction for his long and illustrious career and for his outstanding contribution to the promotion of culture in modern society and the image of our country. "As Real Madrid President I have unique moments away from the pitch and to be alongside Placido Domingo is one of them because he is a genius who is full of humanity and has become an inspiration for new singers. He is our eternal Ballon d’Or winner for music and is our ultimate artist", said in the Whites’ president in his eulogy. Placido Domingo has been added to a long distinguished list of people who have received this honorary title which includes Mario Vargas Llosa, Juan Antonio Samaranch and Nelson Mandela.
The Universidad Europea unanimously agreed to award the honorary doctorate to Placido Domingo. The honorary Real Madrid member received the highest academic distinction from Lech Walesa. The award is made by the school to those professionals who, because of their skills and personal and professional development and having national and international recognition, excel in the fields of science, technology, culture, teaching, research or any of the professional areas that contribute to our society.
Agueda Benito, rector of the Universidad Europea, opened the investiture ceremony before Elena de la Fuente, General Secretary, read the agreement that lead to the recognition being bestowed upon Placido Domigo: "The governing council of the Universidad Europea at the request of the School of Arts and Communication, has unanimously agreed to award an honorary doctorate to Mr. Placido Domingo for his long illustrious career and for his outstanding contribution to the promotion of culture in modern society and the image of our country".
Gerard Mortier, artistic director at Madrid’s Royal Theatre and Florentino Perez were charged with making the eulogy. "His life history is a tale of high achievement. Placido Domingo belongs to an exclusive group of singers who can make the audience have extreme feelings. He is an icon with whom we want to feel identified. To all friends of art in Spain you are a guardian angel", he said.
Then Florentino Perez made his speech: "This university will do justice today. This place for the pursuit of knowledge gives the highest honour to a remarkable man. As Real Madrid President I have unique moments away from the pitch and to be alongside Placido Domingo is one of them because he is a genius who is full of humanity and has become an inspiration for new singers. His passion for life, his charm and his artistic intelligence are beyond human. He is our eternal Ballon d’Or winner for music and is our ultimate artist. His stage is the world and we are looking at the greatest tenor of all time and a person who was chosen as such by the British network, the BBC. Nobody on earth can, wearing their own team’s shirt, say that they are the voice behind the anthem sang by millions of their team’s fans worldwide. Placido is a tenor that is loved by all, but above all he is the voice of the world".
An emotional Placido was the last to speak and referred to his special relationship with Real Madrid: "The privilege of making so many people happy is something that makes us proud as artists. We are privileged because we can bring peace, tranquillity and pleasure to audiences. I want to thank the deep and meaningful words from Gerard Mortier and Florentino Perez, the President of the team that I love, I was deeply moved. It is an honour, as a Spaniard, Real Madrid fan, someone from Madrid and as a European to receive this title. My love and passion for football have brought me to meet Butragueño and Sanchis, who have been to see me sing many times. They are big opera fans and it was back then that my connection with Real Madrid began. After that I met Florentino Perez met and thanks to them I became connected with this young university. The Universidad Europea, like Real Madrid, has an international reach that goes beyond local recognition and is on a worldwide level".
To end his speech said: "I never had the opportunity to go to university, but it is still not too late. Half a century has passed by and seems like it was yesterday. I look forward to giving that passion that grows inside me every day and does not diminish. It is a privilege to be able to express oneself through one’s voice, the most sensitive instrument there is, because you live with it and everything has an effect on you. Living with a voice is very difficult, but the rewards are extraordinary".