Chestertown, MD — Opera tenor Placido Domingo and four-time Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Charles Guggenheim will be honored at Washington College on Feb. 19 at the College’s Winter Convocation.
Domingo, who receives an honorary Doctor of Music, is a powerful force in the world of opera. Artistic director of the Washington Opera and co-founder and artistic adviser of the Los Angeles Music Center Opera, he has appeared in 114 different operatic roles, more than any other tenor in the annals of music. His broad repertoire includes Mozart, Verdi, Berlioz, Puccini, Wagner and Ginastera.
He has sung in every important opera house in the world, has made 93 recordings of full-length operas and more than 100 recordings overall, and has received eight Grammy Awards. As a conductor, he has led opera performances in such important opera theaters as the Metropolitan, London’s Covent Garden, the Vienna State Opera, the Los Angeles Music Center Opera, and the Bastille Opera in Paris. He has also directed purely symphonic concerts. In an effort to support young singers, Domingo launched a vocal competition in 1993 that rewards winners with financial prizes and assures them of his personal involvement in furthering their careers.
Charles Guggenheim receives an Award of Excellence, given in recognition of his singular accomplishments in the field of documentary film. He made his first public film in 1954 and has gone on to produce more than 80. Guggenheim won Oscars for Nine From Little Rock (1964), about 1957 school integration there; Robert Kennedy Remembered (1968), shown at the 1968 Democratic National Convention; The Johnstown Flood (1989), commemorating the 100th anniversary of the disaster; and A Time for Justice (1995), documenting the civil-rights movement. In a recent interview with The Washingtonian, Guggenheim recalled the making of Monument to the Dream, his film about the building of the St. Louis Gateway Arch. "On Sundays I’d go down to the construction site with my family and say, ‘Look at that. I’m making a movie about it.’
Next to us would be a laborer with his family saying, ‘Look at that. We’re building this thing.’ " The film won the Venice Film Festival’s Gold Mercury Award, the first time the award was given to an American.
Guggenheim’s latest release, The First Freedom, features journalists’ personal recollections of the times they’ve put their lives and reputations on the line in the quest for truth. Writing in the Washington Post, movie critic Desson Howe called it "an extraordinary work which shows the inevitable tension between government and a free press . . . superbly edited and visually spirited."
The Convocation ceremony takes place in the Gibson Performing Arts Center at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 19. A reception follows.