Photo: Placido Domingo
“It’s very special because it’s a prize established in Japan for the arts. Taking home a trophy like this is an honor, hugely satisfying and a great source of joy,” he told Efe after receiving the award in a ceremony attended by numerous diplomats at Tokyo’s Meiji Memorial Hall.
Domingo was honored in the music category, while the painting prize went to Italy’s Michelangelo Pistoletto, the film/theater award was conferred on American director Francis Ford Coppola, the sculpture prize was awarded to Britain’s Antony Gormley and the architecture honor went to Britain’s David Chipperfield.
The 72-year-old opera icon also was designated this year as cultural ambassador of the Japan-Spain Dual Year, a celebration of four centuries of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
As part of the commemoration of the Dual Year, Domingo gave two concerts in Tokyo on Oct. 12 and Oct. 15.
Domingo became the third Spaniard to receive the Praemium Imperiale after Antoni Tapies, who won the painting prize in 1990, and Eduardo Chillida, the 1991 recipient of the sculpture honor.
The awards, established in 1989, consist of a gold medal and a 15 million yen ($151,000) cash prize.
Other previous winners include Argentine pianist Martha Argerich, Argentine-born Israeli pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim, Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta.