The Philadelphia Orchestra rescinded an invitation to opera singer
Plácido Domingo on Tuesday afternoon, and the LA Opera promised an outside investigation, after the Associated Press published a report in which several women accuse him of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior.
Eight singers and a dancer told the AP they were sexually harassed by the Spanish tenor in incidents that spanned three decades from the late 1980s. The alleged harassment took place at venues including opera companies where the musician held top positions.
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 winner being sexually inappropriate towards younger women.
So far, four American opera houses have responded to the allegations. The Philadelphia Orchestra revoked an invitation for Domingo to appear with several other musicians at its opening night on 18 September. The orchestra said Tuesday that it’s “committed to providing a safe, supporting, respectful and appropriate environment”.
The Los Angeles Opera, where Domingo is general director, issued a statement saying it will investigate the allegations. The company said in a statement: “LA Opera will engage outside counsel to investigate the concerning allegations about Placido Domingo.”
The 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 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. Several performers told the AP that they were sexually harassed by the star while working for the Washington opera and that his behavior was common knowledge.
A spokeswoman for the Washington opera declined to answer specific questions from the AP about whether management was aware of any inappropriate behavior by Domingo and if any complaints ever had been made.
Instead, the opera house issued a statement saying that its goal “always is to ensure that all of our artists and employees can work and thrive in an environment of safety, trust, support, creativity, and mutual respect”.
The San Francisco Opera became the latest to respond when it announced late Tuesday that it was canceling an October concert featuring Domingo.
The 6 October show had been to mark Domingo’s 50th anniversary with the San Francisco company. It had been promoted as a “special one performance-only event” with “one of the most influential singing actors in the history of opera”.
The opera company said in a statement that even though no inappropriate behavior was alleged to have taken place in San Francisco, the company is “committed to its strong anti-sexual harassment policy and requires all company members to adhere to the highest standards of professional conduct”.
Domingo has denied the accusations, but noted: “Still, it is painful to hear that I may have upset anyone or made them feel uncomfortable.”
The women said they felt emboldened to come forward by the #MeToo movement that emerged after sexual harassment allegations against former film mogul Harvey Weinstein in 2017.