21 APRIL 2008

"In this town Placido Domingo created opera," a Los Angeles newspaper critic wrote recently. And in recognition of the feat achieved by the legendary singer - who first appeared on the California stage four decades ago - the cream of LA society turned out for a once-in-a lifetime concert.

No detail had been left uncovered in the preparations for Saturday's lavish fundraising gala. At the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the same venue where the Madrid-born opera star made his debut in 1968, a red carpet had been laid out in preparation for last weekend's festivities.

The audience included famous faces such as the tenor's fellow Spaniard Zorro actor Antonio Banderas and his wife Melanie Griffiths. Also enjoying the historic performance in the flower-filled auditorium were Hollywood veteran Kirk Douglas, astronaut Buzz Aldrin and English actress Jane Seymour.

It was the city's way of saying 'thank you' to the tireless singer, whose motto is: "If I rest, I rust". Placido, now 67, was one of the leading lights behind LA's opera company and has returned to perform there every year since his debut.

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Accompanied by his wife Melanie, Malaga-born actor Antonio Banderas turns out to help fellow Spaniard Placido Domingo celebrate 40 years of performing in LAPhoto: © RexClick on photos for gallery
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Also attending the gala was astronaut Buzz Aldrin - who was part of the first manned lunar landing in 1969 - and his wife LoisPhoto: © Rex
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Jane Seymour was also in the audience to catch the tenor's stirring setPhoto: © Getty Images
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