Several women have claimed to have been sexually harassed since the late 1980s by the famous Spanish tenor.
The legend of the opera Placido Domingo is now persona non grata on the American musical scenes. Accused of sexual harassment, the 78-year-old Spanish tenor resigned on Wednesday (October 2nd) from his position as general manager of the Los Angeles (California) opera he had held since 2003 and will no longer perform there.
"I will continue to wash my name, but recent accusations in the media have created an atmosphere that prevents me from being useful to this company I love so much"The opera singer explained in a statement, while the Los Angeles Opera opened an internal investigation.
A week earlier, Mr. Domingo, who had in his career more than 150 roles for more than 4,000 performances, had to give up in extremis to sing for the first time. Macbeth at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The previous Saturday, during the rehearsals of Macbeth the orchestra and the chorus were moved by the direction of the signal sent by the institution by receiving Placido Domingo. The New York institution had already struggled to recover from the ousting, late 2017, wave #metoo, of its legendary leader James Levine, accused of sexual harassment against men, for facts sometimes going back to a half-century.
Finally, the Philadelphia Orchestra (Pennsylvania) and the San Francisco Opera (California) had already canceled Placido Domingo's future participations. In fact, the tenor will not have occurred in the United States since the charges of sexual harassment revealed in an investigation of the Associated Press (AP) published in mid-August.
An open secret
Eight female singers and one dancer complained to the agency about having been harassed by Placido Domingo, including when he held management positions. According to AP, he put his hand under the skirt of one, forcibly kissed the lips of three others. Seven of these women believe that their rejection of the opera star has negatively affected their careers.
Six other female singers indicated in this survey that they were embarrassed by Placido Domingo's advances. The alleged facts date back to some in the late 1980s. The testimonies are anonymous, for fear of reprisals or appearing in public, except that of the mezzosoprano Patricia Wulf, now 61 years old.
No woman has provided any material evidence to AP that relies solely on corroborated testimony. The agency said it also interviewed about forty singers, dancers, musicians, and other opera professionals, who confirmed the behavior "Inappropriate" Mr. Domingo, accused of "Woo young women with impunity", writes AP. This behavior would have been in the middle an open secret, women being invited to avoid being alone in the presence of the singer.
One of the 27-year-old women interviewed in 1998 recounts the advances of Mr. Domingo, who kissed him by putting his hand on the side of his chest. "I was intimidated and felt that saying no to him meant saying no to God. How do you say no to God? " She was looking for arguments to say no, recalling that she was married. Domingo would have replied: "It's too bad that your husband does not understand your career. "
Several appearances planned in Europe
Patricia Wulf makes a similar story: the status of man ("He is almost like God in my profession"), his advances ("Patricia, do you have a place to sleep tonight? "); panic when she rejected her advances ("Do you think: have I just ruined my career?"); the fear of complaining to management: "They will not fire him, I will be fired. " And the humiliating humiliation of Mr. Domingo while her husband came to attend a premiere of The magic flute in 1998 in Washington ("I would like to meet my rival"). Wulf assures that the singer never touched her but that it was sexual harassment.
Some did not resist, like this young singer, in 1991: "I finally gave up and slept with him. " Twice, before ending the relationship, which would have derailed his career. "I have no proof," Anonymously says the artist, who notes that later she was never contacted by Mr. Domingo and that he has never offered him a role.
The tenor defended mid-August in a statement to AP: "The allegations of these anonymous people, sometimes dating back as much as thirty years, are deeply troubling and, as presented, inaccurate. However, it is painful to hear that I was able to hurt or embarrass anyone, no matter when and despite my best intentions. I thought all my interactions and relationships were welcome and consensual. Those who know me or have worked with me know that I am not someone who would hurt, offend, or embarrass anyone willingly. "
He simply conceded that "The rules and standards that we are and should be judged by are very different from what they were not the past." Placido Domingo is expected in Europe, where none of his appearances have been canceled. In the month of October, he has to sing Nabucco Verdi in Zurich (Switzerland), conducting a concert in Moscow and interpreting Macbeth at the Vienna Opera.