New York City (USA )/ Spanish tenor Placido Domingo on Tuesday withdrew from New York’s Metropolitan Opera, one day before the scheduled debut of “Macbeth,” which would have marked his return to a stage in the United States after at least 20 women accused him of sexual misconduct.
Domingo’s agent confirmed his client would no longer sing at the Met, while the institution said that both parties had agreed on the need for the tenor to leave the organization after it emerged that several employees were “furious” with Domingo’s alleged behavior.
“While I strongly dispute recent allegations made about me, and I am concerned about a climate in which people are condemned without due process, upon reflection, I believe that my appearance in this production of Macbeth would distract from the hard work of my colleagues both on stage and behind the scenes,” the tenor said in a statement explaining the decision.
“As a result, I have asked to withdraw,” he added. “And I thank the leadership of the Met for graciously granting my request. I am happy that, at the age of 78, I was able to sing the wonderful title role in the dress rehearsal of Macbeth, which I consider my last performance on the Met stage.”
The Met, on the other hand, confirmed that Domingo had agreed to “withdraw from all future performances at the Met, effective immediately.”
Over the past month, Domingo has been accused of sexual harassment by almost two dozen female colleagues, including fellow opera singers and ballerinas.
The scandal worsened after the publication of two in-depth reports by the Associated Press’ Jocelyn Gecker, who talked to numerous alleged victims who said they had been harassed by Domingo, as well as scores of industry insiders who described their attempts to shield young women from the star’s unwanted advances.
Shortly after the first allegations emerged, the Los Angeles Opera – where Domingo serves as general director – announced it was launching an investigation into the claims and hiring attorney Debra Wong Yang to lead it.
The American Guild of Musical Artists, a union of performers including soloists, chorus members, stage managers, directors, dancers and choreographers at the Met, also started its separate investigation.
As the media reports spread, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Francisco Opera and the Dallas Opera canceled Domingo’s scheduled appearances, but the Met said it would await the results of the LA Opera’s and AGMA’s investigations before deciding whether to terminate its relationship with the long-married opera legend.
“We take accusations of sexual harassment and abuse of power with extreme seriousness,” the institution had said at the time, while the general manager, Peter Gelb, reportedly told the opera’s staff that he had declined to fire or investigate the tenor because the allegations needed to be corroborated first by other credible outlets (they had only been reported by the AP at the time).
But last week, public radio broadcaster NPR published a report where it spoke to many Met employees who expressed outrage at Gelb’s inaction.
They said that the decision not to act against Domingo was especially egregious after the Met lived through a recent sexual abuse scandal, in which one of its foremost orchestra directors, James Levine, was fired and sued following multiple accusations of harassment by several men.
Despite the ongoing scandal and all the recent instances of American institutions severing their ties to Domingo in the wake of the scandal, not a single orchestra or opera in Europe has taken any similar action.
In fact, Domingo was given a warm reception at his latest European appearances, such as the Salzburg Festival – where he received a standing ovation – and the Szeged Festival in Hungary.
Meanwhile, the Tokyo Olympics organizing committee said it has not yet decided what it plans to do about the Domingo’s scheduled appearance at an event for the 2020 Summer Games. (September 24, 2019, EFE/Practica Español)
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