Culture&Arts

Opera Legend Placido Domingo Accused of Sexual Harassment by 9 Women

Opera Legend Placido Domingo Accused of Sexual Harassment by 9 Women

Opera legend Placido Domingo faced a growing #MeToo storm Tuesday as the Los Angeles Opera opened an investigation into multiple allegations of sexual harassment against him and two other major venues cancelled his upcoming performances. Seven of the nine said they felt they were punished professionally when they refused his advances. All but Wulf declined to be identified by name for fear of professional reprisal.

In addition to the nine accusers, the AP reports that it has spoken to six other women who say that Domingo made them feel "uncomfortable" in his pursuits of them, and that it also spoke to "almost three dozen other singers, dancers, orchestra musicians, members of backstage staff, voice teachers and an administrator who said they witnessed inappropriate sexually tinged behavior by Domingo and that he pursued younger women with impunity".

Domingo, 78, was accused by eight singers and one dancer of misconduct that seemingly began as far back as the 1980's and has included unwanted kissing, touching and fondling, often with the promise of opera work or connections as a result. In accordance with those policies, LA Opera will engage outside counsel to investigate the concerning allegations about Placido Domingo.

The Philadelphia Orchestra was the first American institution to react to the news, dropping Domingo from its opening night concert.

"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".

Since then, she said, she had sung at New York's Metropolitan Opera, the San Francisco Opera and elsewhere but never again at the Los Angeles Opera house or with Domingo. "[I] will hold myself to the highest standards".

Wulf recalled the compassion of a male colleague who offered to stand up for her if she wanted to report him.

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And the Washington National Opera, where Domingo has served as a top manager for 15 years, said in a statement it has "zero tolerance policies" regarding harassment of any kind.

Domingo has sung 150 roles in more than 4,000 performances - more than any opera singer in history, according to the AP.

Domingo, in a statement distributed by his publicist Nancy Seltzer, called the accusations "deeply troubling, and as presented, inaccurate".

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

Opera singers Anna Netrebko (L), who plays the part of Leonora, and Placido Domingo, who plays the part of Il Conte di Luna, perform during a dress rehearsal of Giuseppe Verdi's "Il trovatore" (The Troubadour) in Salzburg.

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 bad things themselves. Still, she said, his hands would wander to her knee or he would hold her hand or kiss her cheek in ways that made her uncomfortable.

One afternoon when they were working together at the Washington Opera, she said, Domingo asked her to meet for lunch at his hotel restaurant to discuss work.