Sunday, 25 August, 2019

Opera star Domingo accused of sex misconduct

Opera singer Placido Domingo speaks during an event at the Manhattan School of Music in New York Opera singer Placido Domingo speaking during event at Manhattan School of Music in New York
Julia Gonzales | 14 August, 2019, 14:40

For decades, Placido Domingo, one of the most celebrated and powerful men in opera, has tried to pressure women into sexual relationships by dangling jobs and then sometimes punishing the women professionally when they refused his advances, numerous women told The Associated Press.

The women - who said they were emboldened to speak out by the #MeToo movement - were mostly young and starting their careers at the time. All but Wulf declined to be identified by name for fear of professional reprisal.

The Metropolitan Opera Guild, the non-profit organisation that publishes Opera News magazine and supports the Metropolitan Opera of New York City, said had no comment, although some reports say it is awaiting the results of the Los Angeles Opera's investigation.

The stories were supported by more than three dozen other singers, dancers, orchestra musicians, members of backstage staff, voice teachers and an administrator who say they witnessed inappropriate behaviour by Domingo, who has been married to his second wife since 1962.

One of the world's greatest opera singers has been accused of sexual harassment, with one woman claiming he had a superstition that "he had to be with a woman before a show".

Earlier on Tuesday the Philadelphia Orchestra announced it had rescinded an invitation for Domingo to sing at its opening-night gala on September 18.

"He said that the allegations dating back as many as thirty years "are deeply troubling" and" inaccurate".

"However, I recognize that the rules and standards by which we are - and should be - measured against today are very different than they were in the past", he added.

One such woman who worked at the LA Opera told the AP that there was a whisper network about Domingo: "Avoid interaction with him at all costs".

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LA Opera's statement noted that Domingo has been "a dynamic creative force in the life of LA Opera" for more than three decades, adding, "We believe all employees and artists should be treated respectfully and feel safe and secure within their work environment". The AP report does not say whether any of the women reported their allegations to their employers or authorities.

Opera singer Patricia Wulf holds a 1998 photo of herself, left, with opera star Plácido Domingo holding her 4-year-old daughter after a performance of "Fedora" at the Washington Opera, at her home in rural northern Virginia, on July 12, 2019.

The San Francisco Opera has canceled its October 6, 2019 performance that was to celebrate Plácido Domingo's 50 anniversary with the organization. "[I] will hold myself to the highest standards".

The Salzburg Festival in Austria, where Domingo is scheduled to appear August 31, said the singer would perform as planned.

Too fearful to complain about Domingo at the time, Wulf said she spoke out now to end the culture of silence about abuse in the opera world.

She pushed him away, she said, and insisted she had to get to rehearsal. He is General Director of Los Angeles Opera and his worldwide Operaliacompetition has identified some of the world's finest opera singers.

"I was totally intimidated and felt like saying no to him would be saying no to God".

And then she said that that sort of creates a culture where people feel like this behavior is acceptable or there will be no consequences, and then others, maybe people who aren't superstar status, then have the opportunity or take advantage of that to do awful things themselves.

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