NEW YORK  - Famous Spanish tenor Placido Domingo debuted late Saturday in a new opera, “The Enchanted Island,” that premiered at the Metropolitan Opera theater here on New Year’s Eve. The 70-year-old singer, who performed the role of King Neptune, was warmly welcomed by the audience as he appeared at the end of the first act.

“The Enchanted Island,” directed by Jeremy Sams of Britain, is one of the main productions of the famed opera house for its 2011-2012 season.

Sams said he created the role of Neptune specifically for Domingo after Peter Gelb, director general of the Metropolitan Opera, had invited the tenor to perform. “Peter invited him to join the production and asked if I could create a role for him,” Sams wrote on the theater’s website. “Could I? Thus the role of Neptune was born.

 And very handy he proved for plot purposes.”

This year, Domingo also plans to perform in Los Angeles, Madrid, Berlin, Zurich and Santiago de Chile among other cities.