Published: Wed, August 14, 2019

San Francisco Opera Cancels Placido Domingo Concert Over Sexual Harassment Allegations

San Francisco Opera Cancels Placido Domingo Concert Over Sexual Harassment Allegations

A number of opera singers have accused celebrated opera star Placido Domingo of sexual harassment, saying he dangled roles for sex.

The women, eight singers and one dancer, detailed the alleged harassment to the Associated Press in a lengthy report that outlined a pattern of pursuit stretching three decades, and ended nearly every time with the women suffering professional consequences. He also would allegedly sometimes punish women when they refused.

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.

Six other women allege that Domingo, 78, made them feel uncomfortable with his sexual propositions, and dozens of other people in the opera business claimed that they witnessed the multiple Grammy award victor being sexually inappropriate towards younger women. The Philadelphia Orchestra revoked an invitation for Domingo to appear with several other musicians at its opening night on 18 September.

"The allegations from these unnamed individuals dating back as many as 30 years are deeply troubling, and as presented, inaccurate", Domingo said in a statement to the AP.

The incidents are said to have taken place in different venues including a dressing room, a hotel room, during a meeting and at opera companies where Domingo held managerial positions. The LA Opera is "committed to doing everything we can to foster a professional and collaborative environment where all our employees and artists feel equally comfortable, valued and respected".

Six other other women told The Associated Press that suggestive overtures by Domingo had made them uncomfortable. Patricia Wulf, a retired mezzo-soprano who sang with Domingo at the Washington Opera in 1998, said that while Domingo did not physically touch her, his behaviour was coercive.

The San Francisco Opera has canceled its October 6, 2019 performance that was to celebrate Plácido Domingo's 50 anniversary with the organization.

In the spirit of the Me Too era many praised the move by saying it was "high time" he was held accountable and calling the accusations in the report "strong".

However, the head of the Salzburg Festival in Austria said Domingo would perform there as planned this month.

"I have known Placido Domingo for more than 25 years", Rabl-Stadler said in a statement. He has sung 150 roles in over 4,000 performances, continues to sing, and also works as the director of the Los Angeles Opera.

"Every time I would walk off stage, he would be in the wings waiting for me", she said.

She added: "You have to understand that when a man that powerful - he is nearly like God in my business - as soon as you walk away and get away, you think, 'Did I just ruin my career?' And that went on through that production".

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.

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