Domingo’s accuser: I suffered no consequences

Domingo’s accuser: I suffered no consequences


norman lebrecht

August 16, 2019

NPR has obtained the first interview with the only one of nine accusers of Placido Domingo who agreed to speak in her own name.

Here’s Patricia Wulf on Domingo’s alleged harrassment:

And did you suffer any professional consequences by rebuffing him over and over again?

No, I didn’t. I didn’t suffer anything careerwise. In fact, it was interesting: He and the company kept hiring me. And that was great — I sang in [The Magic] Flute, I sang in Fedora, I sang in Don Carlo. … In fact, in Fedora, I remember asking one of the other leads, “How do I stop this? How do I get him to stop bothering me?” And the woman said, “You just keep saying no. And he will eventually stop.”

And he did, in your case.

By Don Carlo, yes, he had slowed down considerably: It still happened, but not nearly as much. Plus, I was playing a boy and I didn’t look nearly as fetching as I did earlier [laughs].

You have talked to The Associated Press, to CBS, and now you’re talking to NPR. Why did you decide that now was the right time to come forward about something that happened almost two decades ago?

I teach voice. And if a student wants to pursue an opera career, I feel like it’s my obligation to let them know what can happen, and what is happening in this field. I hope that it can give a young woman the strength and the courage to just say no to them. You don’t have to give in to that. It’s not going to help your career. It’s not going to make you feel better about yourself. Feeling better about yourself will come when you have the strength to say no.

Read the full interview here.

UPDATE: Music world splits



  • Mark Atwood says:

    She is certainly enjoying her 15 minutes of fame now.

    • anonymous says:

      That’s a typical, boring comment from someone who will judge a person who didn’t have an earth shattering career as looking for the spotlight now. I have sung for Domingo and only was treated with the highest respect but will tell you some of my colleagues didn’t have the same pleasure. I was harrassed by another conductor for two years and he still hasn’t been ‘outed’ and he should be but I don’t have the guts as she does to out him. Maybe if people like you were more supportive for singers then we wouldn’t have this problem in the first place.

      • Enquiring Mind says:

        Do it here, anonymously

        • Gustavo says:

          Let’s start guessing!

        • sycorax says:

          Sorry and nothing against Norman, but as the owner of the site he doesn’t only sees the email addresses people write down in the form, but can also see the IP addresses what means: Towards him none of us is anonymously. And even in trusting him that he acts responsible towards his “customers” here – there hackers out there and sites like this aren’t so hard to get on (a nephew of mine spent his younger days with hacking – just for the fun of it. So I know how quickly these boys work!).

          • Brettermeier says:

            “Towards him none of us is anonymously.”

            That is not necessarily true. He sees what you show him.

            You don’t have to use your real name.
            You don’t have to use your real email address.
            You don’t have to use your “real” IP.

            “So I know how quickly these boys work!”

            Yes, I thought about fixing the broken logo (when the site is scrolled down) myself a couple of times. 😀 But then again, I don’t do other people’s jobs (especially if they’d get paid for my work).

          • Alexander says:

            apparetly that lady could use IP which is not connected to her hometown, like on a trip or something, it’s not a problem nowadays …

      • Maria says:

        There’s your chance then! Anonymous on here too.

  • Gustavo says:

    So what’s the fuss all about?

    • sycorax says:

      The “fuss” is that he didn’t understand the first “no” and that he made women feel uncomfortable and even afraid. He used his position of power for getting what he wanted – and that’s not okay, for heaven’s sake!

      • Gustavo says:

        But it may well be the current population norm as a result of sexual selection driven by male competition and female choice. It is very likely that there is directional selection acting upon male physical and behavioural dominance, leading to ever greater extremes.

        The selection regime needs to change if we want equilibrium. Dominance needs to become maladaptive.

      • Karl says:

        He can’t read minds. All she had to do was tell him how uncomfortable it was making her and he would have stopped.

  • Arameo says:

    Oh! So therefore there was no abuse of power in this case? He insisted she refused and he stopped? That’s it? Ms Wulf case is discarded. Next please… still 8 more to go.

    • sycorax says:

      After a longer time – and that’s not okay. One “no, I’m not interesting” should be enough for a man to get that every further attempts to come close to you are not welcomed.

      • Gustavo says:

        Yes, in an ideal world and from our north-westerly perspective.

        But move to other cultures, religions, social systems, and the requirement that a single female “no” should be sufficient to direct male sexual drive seems utopic.

        Domingo’s dressing-room escapades are perceived as a problem in our socially monogamous culture.

        Our culture has defined social rules to reduce polygynandry.

        Promiscuity is the consequence.

    • sycorax says:

      PS after reading the entire interview. Ms Wulf said: “And yes, I did fear him. The gentleman who is one of my witnesses came up to me, after about the third time he saw this happen — he saw the pressure Domingo put on me — and he said, “Patricia, I see what’s going on. I see how uncomfortable you are. If you want, we can go to the GM and complain about this. I’ll stand up for you.” And I said, “You know, they aren’t gonna get rid of him — they’re gonna get rid of me. And I like this job. I need to work. I’ve worked hard to get here.” So, at that point I decided, I’ll just avoid him as much as I can. I’ll hide from him; I’ll go back to the garage a different way.”

      And now you want to tell me that it’s rather insignificant when a woman fears a man, when she thinks about different ways to go somewhere for avoiding him, when she feels so pressured that other people notice it? That’s okay for you?

      • CHNina says:

        It seems to me that if the person who was one of her “witnesses” had indeed been a gentleman, he could have defused the situation very easily by walking over, putting his arm around Miss Wulf’s shoulders, and saying something like “Come on, Pat, I’ll take you home now, OK? Good evening, Mr. Domingo.” Followed by a rather cold nod to Placido and a quick exit.

        It always worked for me!

      • Alex says:

        Ok. So lets play this scenario just for the sake of argument: A young insecure human being is having approaches by a public figure with overtly exponential more power and influence than this person. That in and of itself warrants anybody to be afraid of screwing up. Its simply how the situation is. Now, the thing with fear is that it originates in a very primal part of our brain, and persons who are more prone might start reacting in paranoia (e.g., someone crossing to the other side of the street when they see an african american, for instance – is it the AA’s fault?) Now, unless we start reproducing solely by in-vitro fertilization human beings will flirt, and these are very complex dynamics. The world is not like Tinder, when you bring people in/out of your life by swiping Yes/No. Nas anybody had that type of relationship? Its usually more complex than that. Now – when there are power dynamics, its natural that the relationship is by default and to nobody’s fault already skewed, but what if there are no bad intentions – what if its just one human being being interested in another in earnst and insists no more than anybody else but it generates fear on another human being because of status? Further: we are assuming that all human beings are equally emotionally balanced, that things never get taken out of context and that there are no mental health issues like anxiety in an entire gender. Basically if a woman has fear, the other party must be guilty – regardless of intent. Is that how justice is supposed to work? Could we apply the same to racial differences ? “the AA salesman looked menacing, and I was truly afraid, he kept on insisting to walk in the shoe store, repeatedly, but after a while he stopped. I was afraid though”. Is the AA salesman guilty?

  • Laura says:

    I would have liked for Mr. Domingo to respond specifically to Ms. Wulf’s allegations. She did after all use her name, which takes guts. He only made a vague generic response which was probably written for him. That was not enough for me. I would have liked him to personally respond by using her name and not merely saying things were different back then. Maybe he is afraid of being sued, but a gentleman would not treat a lady with such disrespect.

    • Olga says:

      He responded, herein is his response (you may accept it or not accept):

      Domingo’s statement to the AP:
      “The allegations from these unnamed individuals dating back as many as 30 years are deeply troubling, and as presented, inaccurate.

      “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. People who know me or who have worked with me know that I am not someone who would intentionally harm, offend, or embarrass anyone.
      “However, I recognize that the rules and standards by which we are — and should be — measured against today are very different than they were in the past. I am blessed and privileged to have had a more than 50-year career in opera and will hold myself to the highest standards.”

  • Esther Cavett says:

    Ms Wulf is apparently now a real estate agent in Virginia.
    That’s what PD should be doing rather than attempting to conduct or sing baritone

  • muriel burnside says:

    Another one who wants free publicity. All of us at one time or another had to say no, and more than one time. So what as long as they accepted the no, each time. Can’t blame them(the men) for trying again.

  • Mary Stuart says:

    I have mixed feelings about this, nothing is black or white. Let’s be honest Placido Domingo was a great tenor and very handsome. I’m sure many women were enamored with him and perhaps threw themselves at him.
    I doubt Placido Domingo couldn’t get a date. Before this story was broadcast it should have been investigated. Did anyone get paid off to keep silent? James Levine was a pedophile who paid off victims, this was known for decades.

  • Brettermeier says:

    I see someone was busy here manipulating the thumbs a tiny little bit?

    (It wasn’t me.)

    @someone: How pathetic. Write a script, like a real man. 😀

  • Elke Smolko says:

    If it really did happen…then why WAIT so long….ridiculous…anybody can make accusations without proof…

    • LJTG says:

      Elke, this is Lydia. Remember me waiting 6 years to accuse Larry? You believed that accusation. People wait sometimes.