Breaking: Philadelphia Orchestra dumps Placido Domingo

Breaking: Philadelphia Orchestra dumps Placido Domingo


norman lebrecht

August 13, 2019

Message just received:

The Philadelphia Orchestra Association has withdrawn its invitation to Plácido Domingo to appear as part of its Opening Night concert on September 18, 2019. We are committed to providing a safe, supportive, respectful, and appropriate environment for the Orchestra and staff, for collaborating artists and composers, and for our audiences and communities. Information about Opening Night artist and program changes will be announced at a later date.


  • Caravaggio says:

    Excellent decision

    • Stuart says:

      Unfortunately it is not an issue of proof or investigations but of optics. Philadelphia made the only decision that it could at this stage, and others will follow. They are not assessing guilt or innocence, but what is best for their organization today.

    • Paul says:

      Private organizations are under no obligation to guarantee due process to anybody. In this case, Placido Domingo’s actions had an adverse effect on his career, rather than somebody else’s.

      • Paul says:

        So because he gets a pass, everyone does? Or are you just miffed, because this time it was someone whose poster is on your bedroom wall?

    • James says:

      9 accusers, dozens of corroborating witnesses, exhaustively researched timelines, a collective shout of, “YES, FINALLY!” from the opera world, and the acknowledgment from multiple critics that this was an open secret. What more do you need? He’s not going to go on trial, but bad behavior has(or should have) consequences. He should feel lucky that it’s taken this long for this to come out publicly.

    • Emil says:

      Look, if one of my friends were *acquitted* of sexual harassment in eight separate cases, he better have a very compelling and rock-solid explanation if he wants to remain my acquaintance, ‘due process’ or not. My moral standards are not the same as those of a court of law, and I have no desire to support a serial sexual harasser, convicted or not.

      • allen says:

        sorry, Emil, but you are already close friends with at least 2 similarly known sexual predators in the U.S. gay conducting world. We shouldn’t have to name names here if you would not be blind to the truth, but then willful ignorance is easiest regarding those closest to you.

    • Laurence says:

      Your ass consists of dollar signs? So does Domingo’s, which is why he’s been given a free pass all these years. It’s the women who have been denied “due process” (which like patriotism, is often the last refuge of a scoundrel).

    • sonoio says:

      the reality is that women were going to look for him!…it was happening since the beginning…50 years ago ! He was always and first a good husband and father, now media and women looking for spotlight are spoiling his reputation. Fake, sad, he and his Family does NOT deserve all this BS !

  • Jay Bee says:

    The sh*t storm has already started…

  • Federico Piantini says:

    Shame on you…..I am guessing due process is not necessary

    • Emil says:

      Indeed, you got it. The Philadelphia Orchestra is not a court of law, and they’re free to make the business decision they wish. As to whether anyone would have enjoyed a gala with him on stage, that’s their business, but I suspect many would not.

  • Paul Dawson says:

    What troubles me about #MeToo allegations is that the innocent until proven guilty assumption is so often overridden. While I was a university lecturer, I was terrified by the prospect of an unfounded sexual harrassment allegation from a student. Happy to report that it never happened, but – wow! – did I take great care over this.

    • Paul says:

      Read the AP article… eight women at least came forward, their stories all independently verified and corroborated by the journalists. Also remember, “Innocent until Proven Guilty” is the precedent in criminal court, which is a long way removed from the stage at the Kimmel Center.

    • James says:

      9 accusers, corroborating witnesses, exhaustively researched timelines – what else do you need? The
      percentage of unfounded accusations is miniscule compared to unreported harassment and/or sexual violence.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        James: “The percentage of unfounded accusations is miniscule compared to unreported harassment and/or sexual violence.”

        Er…I don’t think there is any evidence that this is true. We just don’t know how many “unfounded accusations” there are. And making accusations is a great way for employees to avoid criticism for poor performance in their job.

        [None of these comments are meant to say anything about Domingo’s case.]

    • Emil says:

      Paul, as someone about to enter the same career as you, I’d think that working hard to make sure you don’t make your students uncomfortable, creeped out, or traumatised is a minimum requirement, in a teaching role.

      • Paul Dawson says:

        I agree. My fear, though, was unrelated to that. It was concern that a student, resenting a poor grade, would take revenge by an unfounded accusation. Good luck in your career, but I urge you to take care on this issue.

        • Paul says:

          Sure, it may be something to be concerned about… over a career of teaching, there will be some weirdo students. I know that when I TA’d for my department, I always held office hours in a common area, with others present (not that I was primarily concerned with these sorts of accusations). Open-door policies are exceptionally common in academic circles nowadays, for good reason.

    • Sycorax says:

      My hubby teaches young women and works with them, too – and he’s uber cautious in dealing with them. Yet in his caution isn’t only a certain security for him, but for the girls too. They feel that they can trust him and that he wants to make sure that they feel protected.
      So even if one – annoyed by him for falling through at an audition or something like that – would accuse him of inappropriate behaviour, it would be one and she’d have a hard time to make believable that she was ever really alone with him (he normally lets the door to his office open when he’s with a pupil or a young colleague) or that he called her or something like that.

    • Karl says:

      You have to be careful everywhere now. There is a false accuser in my workplace. I’ve seen her start it by initiating physical contact and then afterward complain about being harassed. Someone told me she was telling people that I was harnessing her just by talking to her. Now I avoid her like the plague. If I see her walking down the hall I go the other way.

  • Gustavo says:

    Really what is all the fuss about?

    There must be really deep social problems behind the facade of artificial prudery.

    Dump Tr. instead!

    • David says:

      Would you want a man acting the way Placido did to your mother, sister, wife or daughter? Or are you just seeking justification for your own actions?

      • lurker says:

        I’m a woman. I wouldn’t necessarily want any man to behave like that with me but I don’t think putting a hand on my knee or trying to kiss me is that tragic and deserves this kind of response.

        • IW says:

          It’s women like you who aid these molesters and make excuses for them. I don’t know what you look like but the fact that this hasn’t ever happened to you…well I can imagine. As a woman NO man is allowed to touch me without my permission. PERIOD. And when women come forward at the risk of their own careers, and reputations, just maybe we should try to listen. I’m absolutely disgusted by this response from you.

      • Gustavo says:

        Why discuss individual cases if the whole system is supported by the mob?

  • Daniel Layne says:

    The whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing applies mainly to criminal cases. Obviously, Domingo has a long history of sexual harassment and/or sexually abusive behavior. When 8 women all come forward with essentially the same story, this is ample proof as far as I am concerned. I will be watching this story, especially since I have tickets to see the Macbeth at the Met with Domingo and Netrebko.

    • Edgar says:

      You may end up watching a show without both, given the latest news which emerged in the past days and hours. Perhaps you will witness a spectacular debut (or even two) of hitherto much less well known artists. One never knows these days…

    • Kolb Slaw says:

      It is a fundamental social value as well as the foundation of our legal system. To ignore it socially is reprehensible.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        No, you are factually wrong. “Innocent until proven guilty” is a foundation of the criminal justice system. In anything else you are free to form your judgements in any way you like.

    • He’s not a baritone! says:

      You paid to hear Domingo sing a dramatic baritone role????? I’m sorry. Hopefully they’ll replace him with a real Macbeth, like Ludovic Tézier (who was glorious in the role at the Liceu) and you’ll get your money’s worth. Domingo the baritone is an assault on opera, and I can’t believe the industry has let this crossover farce go on for so long. There’s either no knowledge left out there or no scruples.

  • Peter says:

    The thing is that he has not denied the accusations, he said that he thought these were consented, so the stories might be actually true…

    • david hilton says:

      Incorrect. Domingo absolutely has denied the accusations. He has characterised them as “inaccurate”. And he certainly hasn’t retreated behind any defense alleging ‘consent’ as you allege. That seems to be a fantasy you have authored.

      • Nik says:

        The wording he used is that the accusations are “as presented, inaccurate”. This is a very careful way of putting it, wouldn’t you say? It’s a long way from “completely false”.

        • Saxon Broken says:

          “As presented, inaccurate” can mean “it happened on Tuesday rather than Wednesday”. Very subtly put…you might be lead to believe the events didn’t happen “as presented”.

      • Peter says:

        I do not “allege” anything, I do not have any fantasies and just quoted his very own statement… :

        “Still, it is painful to hear that I may have upset anyone or made them feel uncomfortable no matter how long ago and despite my best intentions. I believed that all of my interactions and relationships were always welcomed and CONSENSUAL.”

        According to the Oxford dictionary:

        – consensual –
        Relating to or involving consent or consensus.
        ‘consensual sexual activity’
        ‘decision-making was consensual’
        Mid 18th century from Latin consensus ‘agreement’ (from consens- ‘felt together, agreed’, from the verb consentire)


    • Edgar says:

      There is NEVER consent to inappropriate and abusive behavior. And if there is, it is very likely a forced one, kept silent by the person subjected to it because of her/his fear for her/his career.

      Base abuse of power. It must be eradicated, justly, swiftly, and for ever.

      • Derek says:

        It is awful to realise that so many in a position of power or celebrity are abusing that power and placing impossible pressure on someone who is afraid to reject them because of the consequences.

    • Paul says:

      I had a former friend pull this same thing- when I confronted him about multiple allegations, he pulled the “it was consensual” B.S. This is classic behavior of a narcissist… they’ll admit to a thousand lies before admitting to the truth.

  • Mick the Knife says:

    Perhaps the greatest tenor of his generation could be shown a little respect by the Phil Orch?

    • Edgar says:

      Quite obviously, and with appropriate reason, the Philadelphia Orchestra has chosen to be respectful toward “the Orchestra and staff, [to] collaborating artists and composers, and [to] our audiences and communities”. Therefore, it had no other option but to to disinvite Mr. Domingo, whose artistic accomplishments certainly deserve respect. His lack of professional boundaries is another matter, however.

      ‘T has been ever thus – “le droit du seigneur”. This cannot and must not be so anymore.

    • Sanity says:

      Oh, but Jaume Aragall retired some time ago!…

    • Emil says:

      Perhaps the multiple women whose careers were harmed by Domingo could be shown a little respect by, well, everyone, Domingo above all?

  • Martin Pitcher says:

    His statement reads to me like a tacit admission of guilt, although he does describe the claims as ‘inaccurate’.

    It looks like his career is over. As I’ve long had the impression he works purely to keep himself alive, this will have dire implications for his health.

    What a sad and abject way for a great career to end! OK, he should have retired at least twenty years ago and his late career as a reinvented baritone convinced no-one, but even so….

    • Edgar says:

      Fully agree. È un peccato che sia dovuta finire così – It’s too bad it had to end this way…

    • Sycorax says:

      The entire “end” of his career is a very sad story, starting with this “I’m now a baritone” number which was – let’s be honest – always incredibly embarrassing.
      It’s tragic, it’s sad, but in a way I’m glad that it’s out in the open now what hopefully means that a few other men think about their behaviour towards women. Nowadays even being a “star” doesn’t mean you can harass women (and grab their at … we know Trump’s famous line, don’t we?). And that’s really a good thing.

    • Karl says:

      It sounds like he’s only admitting to being promiscuous. Should our employers be able to fire us because they don’t like our sex lives?

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Martin writes: “As I’ve long had the impression he works purely to keep himself alive, this will have dire implications for his health.”

      So what is the alternative? Should he be allowed to continue harassing people because otherwise he will be “a bit upset”? What about the health of the people harassed?

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    The Philadelphia Orchestra has just found an excuse to save money. I hope they will find a very woke replacement.

    • david hilton says:

      Don’t see how this saves the orchestra money. They will certainly have to pay him anyway, as they are the party who is breaching the agreement.

      • Bruce says:

        There is probably a clause in the contract about reasons why the agreement can be breached without penalty. Sometimes it can be as vague as “causing a poor reflection on the organization,” meaning the allegations don’t have to be proven in a court of law, they just have to be public and look bad enough.

        Ridiculous, perhaps, but if both sides signed, then…

        P.S. I have no idea if this is actually true about his contract with the Philadelphia Orchestra. I’m just guessing. But it makes sense that if an organization promises to pay out big money to a big star, then they would look for ways to protect themselves against financial loss.

    • Harrumph says:

      Talented would be preferable to “woke”.

      • Pianofortissimo says:

        Indeed. But they have cancelled talent as fast as a spinal cord reflex, no brain involved, so they deserve something “woke” instead. Very, very “woke”.

    • Nik says:

      What a silly comment. If this was their aim, they would have booked someone cheaper in the first place.

  • MacroV says:

    I can be somewhat forgiving of someone who is perhaps just a little inappropriately affectionate, or when it happened years ago when norms were a little different, if still inappropriate. The red line for me is actual physical/sexual assault (something unquestionably criminal) or clear threats to someone’s career for not complying. So Levine or Harvey Weinstein, no question. Domingo? I need to read up a little more. Al Franken? Should never have resigned from the Senate. Trump?

    But I don’t think he should be directing ANY opera company, and how LA and DC ever put up with his directing two simultaneously while also singing nearly full-time I’ll never understand.

  • Edgar says:

    “We are committed to providing a safe, supportive, respectful, and appropriate environment for the Orchestra and staff, for collaborating artists and composers, and for our audiences and communities” – given the fact that Truth has finally come into the open, a decision which had to be taken.

    More to come in the classical music world, for sure…

  • boringfileclerk says:

    They are committed to creating a safe environment, after allowing it to happen for how long? It was an open secret, and yet they pretend to be shocked at the allegations!

    • BillOxford says:

      Yes, would the ‘open secret’ have been allowed to continue had the current eight complainants (not in a legal sense, btw) not come forward? I’d also like to know why these individuals didn’t complain before and what, it seems, promoted them all to issue statements now.

  • sam says:

    Domingo should’ve been dumped because he can’t sing anymore!

    On (lack of) artistic merits alone!

  • Kolb Slaw says:

    Utterly disgusting. No fair trial here. I don’t feel safe or secure attending their concerts now.

    • Bruce says:


    • Laurence says:

      Yeah, they’ll probably drag you out of your seat at intermission and throw you out in the alley. Stay home and hope they don’t come for you there. Don’t even dare to turn on the radio—it’s a listening device for the Woke Police.

      • Bruce says:

        In fact, the Woke Police have a database of all radio owners in the US, and Obama’s deep state has a secret plan to round them all up if they don’t keep their dial tuned to NPR.

  • .Novagerio says:

    As if nobody had known about his “womanising” (!)
    Are we supposed to be dumbfounded and drop our jaws now, in the name of political correctness?
    Why didn’t any woman just say “stop, don’t get to close”before the bloody hashtag was even invented?
    Because any female singer wanted a gig with the big guy, that’s why !!

    Try to tarnish the reputation of the Holiest Cow in the opera business the last 50 years, and make him fall (!!) – just make sure you are going to succed, because it’s for sure going to cost a fortune in lawyers!…

    • sycorax says:

      Well, saying “stop, don’t get too close” meant for a long time that you could forget about your further career. Domingo was “like God” in the branche (as one of the ladies said in the AP article) and of course the female singers wanted to work with him! It meant a chance for the big career! Yet stopping him meant that you could sing like an angel and nevertheless wouldn’t get certain jobs. It meant that you could watch how less talented people got the jobs you’ve worked for so hard.

      I’m no singer (luckily – I don’t think I’d have had the nerves for this job), but I know how it feels to become harassed. I got once the sack because I’d refused to sleep with the boss. And although it’s now around 30 years ago – I remember very well how humiliated and hurt I felt. And I know I didn’t have a chance to get the guy who’d harass me in front of a court. He’d have denied everything, his lawyers would have taken my private life apart and in the end people in my branche would have said: “Why did she make such a fuss? He didn’t rape her, it was only about a job …”

  • ines says:

    sad how a great carrier is ending….may be op. managers feel it s the right moment? he should have retired earlier in full glory…..

  • almaviva says:

    How courageous of Philly! Please spare us the hypocrisy! Where were they all these past 30+ years when these allegations took place? They and the Met, and Covent Garden, and WNO and all the rest? Did they even take any steps to provide a safe and supportive environment to the alleged victims? They are all complicit.

    • bash says:

      The last time Domingo appeared with the Philly Orchestra was in 1973. And now they are canceling him. I would say they have made a pretty decent effort to create a safe environment for their orchestra members. Particularly in light of the charges against Dutoit, they probably decided not to take any chances.

    • Peter Phillips says:

      Domingo performed with WNO??

  • Alasdair Munro says:

    Was he keeping score with Julio Iglesias?

    • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

      Let’s just say that “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” won’t be the encore at the Philadelphia Orchestra Gala…

  • Harry Levy says:

    They should just take away his baton.
    That’s abusing 2,500 people at one time.