Page last updated at 09:28 GMT, Wednesday, 14 October 2009 10:28 UK

Tenor Domingo collects opera gong

Placido Domingo
Placido Domingo called it the highest honour of his career

Opera singer Placido Domingo has been awarded the first Birgit Nilsson prize at a ceremony in Stockholm.

The Spanish star, one of the famous Three Tenors, said accepting the $1m (£625,000) honour was "comparable to the Nobel music prize".

Domingo was given the award for his achievements in the field of opera.

Swedish soprano Nilsson, who died in 2005 aged 87, first sang with Domingo in 1969 and and chose him to receive the first prize named after her.

She praised his "superb acting" and "gorgeous singing" after appearing with him in a production of Tosca at New York's Metropolitan Opera.

After collecting his award from the King of Sweden, Domingo said he would use the money to create a new prize to find the best Wagnerian soprano in honour of Nilsson's most famous work.

He said that in a 40-year career studded with awards, this one was "without hesitation the highest and the most emotional".

The prize will be handed out every three years - in exceptional circumstances every other year - said the president of the Birgit Nilsson Foundation.

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