Wednesday, 21 August, 2019

Opera's Domingo faces sexual harassment probe, shows cancelled

Placido Domingo speaks during a news conference about his upcoming show Giovanna d’Arco in Madrid Placido Domingo speaks during a news conference about his upcoming show Giovanna d’Arco in Madrid Placido Domingo
Adrian Cunningham | 14 August, 2019, 14:43

In response to the sexual harassment allegations leveled by nine women against opera singer Placido Domingo, the Los Angeles Opera, where the singer has been General Director since 2003, offered a written statement sent by its Director of Communications.

Numerous women have told The Associated Press that Domingo tried to pressure them into sexual relationships by dangling jobs and in some cases punishing them when they refused his advances.

Three women quoted in the story detailed encounters that they said occurred while working with Domingo at LA Opera, including one woman who told the AP that he stuck his hand down her skirt after urging her to come sing an aria for him at his apartment. All but Wulf declined to be identified by name for fear of professional reprisal.

The 78-year-old Domingo is one of the industry's most powerful figures and more than three dozen people in the opera world told the AP that his behavior has always been an open secret.

Nearly three dozen others told the AP that they witnessed inappropriate behavior by Domingo.

In interviews with almost three dozen people in the opera world - from singers to musicians to backstage staff - the AP said that they had witnessed legendary tenor behave inappropriately and pursue "younger women with impunity".

Spanish tenor Placido Domingo performing on stage during a 2015 concert at the Starlite in Marbella, Spain.

The Los Angeles Opera, where Domingo has always been general director, did not immediately respond to Variety's requests for comment.

Earlier today, the Philadelphia Orchestra withdrew its invitation for the vocalist to appear with music director Yannick Nezet-Seguin in the season's gala opening concert September 18.

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Domingo called the allegations "deeply troubling and, as presented, inaccurate". "However, we have a zero tolerance policy towards harassment of any kind and recently refreshed our code of conduct to ensure all staff and visiting artists abide by the rules at all times".

In its statement, L.A. Opera said: "We believe all employees and artists should be treated respectfully and feel safe and secure within their work environment".

Hailing from Spain, the 78-year-old Domingo is an opera singer and conductor who's won 14 Grammy and Latin Grammy Awards.

The San Francisco Opera has canceled its October 6, 2019 performance that was to celebrate Plácido Domingo's 50 anniversary with the organization. "I am blessed and privileged to have had a more than 50-year career in opera and will hold myself to the highest standards".

The Salzburg Festival in Austria said it was going ahead as planned with a performance by Domingo in the opera "Luisa Miller" on August 31.

"What he did is wrong", said a dancer who claimed he took her up to his hotel room during a business lunch and started hugging and kissing her before she pushed him away and left. He is General Director of Los Angeles Opera and his global Operaliacompetition has identified some of the world's finest opera singers. "That's how everybody dealt with Placido", she said.

"Every time I would walk offstage, he would be in the wings waiting for me", she told the AP.

She had heard the rumors that Domingo relentlessly pressured women to sleep with him.