Plácido Domingo wins new opera prize

World-famous Spanish tenor Plácido Domingo has been awarded the first Birgit Nilsson prize, named after the Swedish soprano.

Placido Domingo

Domingo was presented with his $1m (£625,000) prize, the most generous in the classical music world, by the King of Sweden at a ceremony in Stockholm.

Nilsson created a foundation before her death in 2005 to award a prize every two or three years to reward outstanding achievement in music.  She chose Domingo as the first recipient of the prize, and the decision was kept secret until February 2009.

Nilsson and Domingo first sang together in 1969, in a Metropolitan Opera production of Tosca, after which Nilsson commented that Domingo 'was an incredibly good Cavaradossi, his acting was superb — he was the part, he loved the part and on top there was gorgeous singing'.

In his emotional acceptance speech, Domingo said he would use the money to create another new prize.  It will reward the best Wagnerian soprano, in honour of Nilsson, who is so renowned for her interpretation of Wagner's work.