Aug 15, 2012
Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Placido Flamingo
Sesame Street Season 18 (1986)
Most recent appearance...
Sesame Street Season 25 (1992)
Best known role...
WHO IS PLACIDO FLAMINGO?
Placido Flamingo is perhaps the most cultured of Sesame Street's many residents. He is a talented performer of classical opera (with a Sesame twist). He loves to sing more than just about anything. Placido Flamingo is the primary operatic star at the Nestopolitan Opera in the "Live From the Nest" series. As an opera singer, Placido is quite impressed by and even enjoys listening to his own voice--even when everyone else is ready for him to stop.
When he was introduced on Sesame Street in Season 18, Placido was intended to expose children to classical music. Who better than an operatic flamingo to do that? Placido's character (and name) is even based off of legendary opera singer and one of the Three Tenors, Placido Domingo. Domingo enjoyed the character so much that he appeared int he special Sesame Street: 20 and Still Counting to perform the song "Look Through the Window" with his namesake fowl.
Placido's many performances are what define the character. From his wonderful ballad to his phone, "The Telephone Opera," or his duet with Ernie, "Up and Down Opera." He also notably performed the lead solo with conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra Seiji Ozawa and a chorus of animals in a production of "Italian Street Song." One can also never forget his stirring performances in both "The Dentist of Seville" and "The Bathtub of Seville." Who could forget his stirring hit "Peligro," as well as his timeless telling of "The Spider's Feelings."
WHY DOES SESAME STREET NEED PLACIDO FLAMINGO?
As one of Richard Hunt's last original characters to be developed, it was a smart move, in my opinion, to retire Placido Flamingo. I do not think that he should necessarily be recast (although I'm sure David Rudman could do a bang-up job with the character), but his usefulness on Sesame Street can not be denied. He was very useful in introducing the wonderful genre of classical music to young viewers. Culture! Yay!
But really, Placido is not only educational, but also very, very funny. This has to be attributed to Richard Hunt's performance at least somewhat... but the fact that Placido is an opera-singing flamingo helps too. If Placido shouldn't be recast, it would be wonderful to see reruns of Placido's old classic performances.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, email@example.com