Two music companies canceled appearances by Placido Domingo and the Los Angeles Opera said Tuesday it would launch an investigation in response to an Associated Press story in which numerous women accused the opera legend of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior spanning decades.
Domingo has been the general director of the LA Opera since 2003 and previously served as the company’s artistic director, jobs that gave him the power to cast roles and — his accusers say — make, or break, careers.
Some of the women told the AP that Domingo used his power at the LA company and elsewhere to try to pressure them into sexual relationships, with several saying that he dangled jobs and then sometimes punished them professionally if they refused his advances.
On Tuesday, the Philadelphia Orchestra and San Francisco Opera announced they would cancel upcoming performances featuring the star, regarded as one of the greatest opera singers of all time.
New York’s Metropolitan Opera said it would await the results of LA Opera’s investigation “before making any final decisions about Mr. Domingo’s future at the Met,” where he is scheduled to appear next month.
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 long been an open secret.
The accusers who spoke to the AP — all but one of whom requested anonymity — said they had feared speaking out previously would kill their careers due to his immense standing.
Domingo issued a statement to the AP calling the allegations “deeply troubling and, as presented inaccurate,” adding “I believed that all of my interactions and relationships were always welcomed and consensual.”
The LA Opera said it would hire outside counsel to investigate the “concerning allegations” against Domingo.
“Placido Domingo has been a dynamic creative force in the life of LA opera and the artistic culture of Los Angeles for more than three decades,” the company said in a statement. “Nevertheless, we are 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.”
Concerts canceled, investigation opened into Placido Domingo