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Placido Domingo to sing his sixth concert before a World Cup final

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SAO PAULO - Placido Domingo will sing before a World Cup final for the sixth time, announcing Wednesday he will perform at Rio de Janeiro's HSBC Arena on July 11.

The concert featuring the 73-year-old classic musical star will take place two days before the final at Maracana Stadium. The show also is scheduled to include pianist Lang Lang, soprano Ana Maria Martinez, conductor Eugene Kohn and the Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira.

Domingo has attended every World Cup final since 1970 with the exception of 1978 in Argentina. He sang the 1982 theme song in Spain, "El Mundial." He said the program next month will include classical music and Brazilian songs.

"I always think music and sport are the two great things many people can understand without any need to really speak the language," Domingo said in a telephone interview from London, where he is to conduct Puccini's "Tosca" next week at The Royal Opera. "I have friends from all around the world, and they are really fanatics of soccer and music. It's great to see many of the people I know."

He joined Luciano Pavarotti and Jose Carreras at the Rome's Baths of Caracalla in 1990 to form The Three Tenors. They returned in 1994 at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium, in 1998 at Paris' Champ de Mars and Eiffel Tower and in 2002 at Japan's Yokohama Arena.

Pavarotti retired from staged opera two years later and sang publicly for the last time at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. Before the 2006 World Cup final, Domingo was joined by soprano Anna Netrebko and tenor Rolando Villazon for a concert at Berlin's Waldbuehne.

Domingo remains active on opera stages, increasingly in baritone rather than tenor roles, and has been general director of the Los Angeles Opera since 2003.

He wasn't invited to sing before the 2010 World Cup final in Johannesburg, when he was in the middle of a run of Verdi's "Simon Boccanegra" at Covent Garden. He travelled to South Africa for the final between performances and celebrated with players from his native Spain after it beat the Netherlands 1-0 for its first world title.

Domingo hopes Spain repeats as champion.

"I think they have as many chances as anybody else," he said. "There's Italy or Germany — they always smell the success. They are the other two teams that have been so many times champions, and they are ready."

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