In the 48 hours since the Associated Press published sexual allegations by eight anonymous women against Placido Domingo, the music world has split in two halves.
In the US, institutions have hurriedly dissociated themselves from Domingo and cancelled his bookings, with the exception of the LA Opera which is conducting an independent investigation, and the Met which says it will follow LA’s findings. Everywhere else, Domingo is held to be guilty as alleged and no voice has been raised in his support.
The American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) declared overnight: ‘Today, AGMA became aware of serious allegations of sexual harassment made by multiple women against Plácido Domingo. We have contacted our employers to demand investigations into these allegations. Additionally, we have reached out to our members in opera companies that may have been affected to offer guidance and support. We will continue to closely monitor this situation, making the safety of our members our first priority.’
In Europe, on the other hand, there has been no condemnation of Domingo’s alleged conduct. On the contrary, the Salzburg Festival president Helga Rabl-Stader declared instant solidarity, praising Domingo’s ‘appreciative treatment of all festival employees’ and confirming his appearance in Verdi’s Luisa Miller later this month.
Zurich Opera, Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie and several other institutions have stood by him. La Scala and Covent Garden say they are monitoring the outcome of the LA investigation. The music world has never been more divided on geographic lines.
What is significant beyond the split, is that no major music personality has uttered a single word, either in condemnation or in solidarity of the beleaguered Domingo. Apart from three Spanish sopranos, there has not been a peep.
Not from Netrebko, or Gergiev, or Kaufmann, or Barenboim, or any of his supposed best friends.
Which is strange. And timid. And rather typical.
UPDATE: A star speaks up for Domingo
You can read this post in Spanish translation here.