Domingo’s choices: Resign, retire, or lie low for a yearmain
Put yourselves in the shoes of the former tenor’s image team today.
He has been accused by nine women, only one of them named, of offering career advancement in exchange for sex. There was no physical threat to their security and he knew when to take No for an answer.
On the scale of major #Metoo offences, this is medium-grade. Still unproven. And denounced by Domingo as inaccurate.
So far, two organisations – Philadelphia Orchestra and San Francisco Opera – have cancelled his involvement in their galas.
LA Opera, where he is general manager, has called in lawyers to test the allegations. The Met, where he is due to sing Verdi’s Macbeth next month, says it will abide by LA Opera’s conclusions.
The Salzburg Festival’s president Halga Rabl-Stadler says nothing has been proven against him and she expects him to sing in Verdi’s Luisa Miller in two weeks’ time.
That’s where things stand.
So what will Domingo do?
The easy option would be to resign his job at LA Opera – he is 78, after all – and thereby eliminate being in any position where he could influence the casting of future operas. That’s the emergency cord if things get suddenly worse.
More radical would be to announce his retirement from singing, conducting and directing. That’s the least likely.
The advisors will tell him to follow the playbook of Charles Dutoit or Daniele Gatti. Get lawyered up to stop further damage. Go East, old man, to perform in Japan and China until the furore dies down. Come back in a year’s time with a new set of plans – a new orchestra, maybe – and live out his time as if #Metoo never happened.
Opera’s casting-couch culture will not be affected.