A poll carried out by BBC Music Magazine to find the world's 20 top tenors has revealed that Placido Domingo is the greatest tenor of all time. And of the poll's top ten, he is the only one to still be performing.
Michael Tanner, Opera critic for The Spectator, and one of the 16 renowned opera critics to have voted in the poll, commented: "The operatic scene since the mid 1960s is inconceivable without Domingo, and the gigantic treasury of opera recordings will bear witness to future generations of his greatness.
"In an age when 'celebrity' has rightly become a world of contempt, Placido Domingo's fame is an example of how a huge name was built on solid foundations."
According to the poll, the bright hope for the future lies with Peruvian bel canto tenor Juan Diego Flórez, who entered the list at number 13.
Tipped as the new Pavarotti, 35-year-old Flórez is the only singer in the top 20 younger than 67 year-old winner, Domingo.
Geoffrey Smith, Radio 3 Presenter, said: "His ability to stimulate even the most jaded of opera palettes was demonstrated last year when, overturning an iron-clad tradition, the famously strict La Scala audience demanded an encore of 'Oh, mes amis' from Donizetti's La fille du régiment…
"Since the piece was a speciality of Flórez's hero, the late Luciano Pavarotti, the ovation gave an inevitable sense of the torch being passed."
Peter Pears (1910-1986) is the only Brit to feature in the top ten with fellow Englishman Anthony Rolfe Johnson (b1940) coming in at number 17.
Oliver Condy, Editor of BBC Music Magazine, commented: "As proved by the amazing Three Tenors cult, tenors are the most popular of all singers.
"Our top ten confirms that the very greatest tenors all have astonishing vocal prowess, huge charisma, and a formidable career behind them. However, it's fantastic to see Flórez making his mark so early."
'The 20 greatest tenors of all time' is published in the April issue of BBC Music Magazine, on sale 12 March, priced £4.25.