Opera legend, Plácido Domingo was quoted as saying, “The public made me and then encouraged me for many years, and my future even now depends upon it.” Domingo’s appreciation and kindness towards his fans has been something I have heard about for years, but never knew its true extent until recently at one of his Boston performances.
It was just before showtime and myself and other fans had gathered by the stagedoor. We were all on high alert watching each of the shiny SUVs speeding by. Our concentration was suddenly interrupted when a man in a long coat walked up behind us. Although time had taken the color from his hair, his smile and accent quickly gave him away. Domingo, the silver haired man, apologized explaining that he was running late to soundcheck, however he promised he would be back out to greet us as soon as he was finished.
As a grapher, I’ve heard this line too many times. In most cases, celebrities use it to escape the crowd without any intention of returning. However, something in the way Domingo said it, assured us he was genuine and would uphold his promise.
We resumed our positions at the stagedoor. We jumped every time a caterer or a stagehand would pop out for a smoke. After an hour of waiting, Domingo emerged from behind the heavy metal door. He slowly worked his way down the line carefully signing everything everyone had. When I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING.
It eventually came to be my turn. Domingo and I struck up light conversation and I told him what an honor it was to meet him and he responded with a smile. I asked for a picture and he jokingly asked if his hair was ok.
Once he had taken a picture with me and signed my record, he continued signing and smiling for many others. He never once complained about the time it took to meet the twenty of us or sign the stacks that some of the crew had. In fact, when he was done signing, he asked us if he had met everyone waiting and signed everything. We answered and thanked him for his time and he went back inside waving and thanking us.
Days later I’m still thinking about the experience. I am awed that unlike other artists like Domingo that have been working for many years, he has never lost sight of his fans and how their loyalty has contributed to his impressive career. That realization makes me appreciate him and his artistry even more!