In Salzburg, Placido Domingo receives standing ovation before he sings a note

In Salzburg, Placido Domingo receives standing ovation before he sings a note


norman lebrecht

August 25, 2019

The veteran singer, 78, received a demonstrative welcome from the plutocratic audience before he sang in Verdi’s Luisa Miller.

The festival president has proclaimed her faith that he is innocent of alleged sexual harrassment, and the public seemed to agree.

The applause that greeted him was raucous, punctuated by shouts of bravo.

Read here.

He appears to have unqualified support in Spanish and Austrian media, and among his own profession.


  • Alan says:

    So plenty of people willing to back him publicly. While
    all bar one of the allegations against him are anonymous.

    Maybe that’s why he was applauded.

    Something very, very wrong with that picture.

    • Mario B says:

      This level of public support doesn’t necessarily mean he’s innocent. A lot of people stood by Bill Cosby, and now he is in prison for aggravated indecent assault. There’s a private investigation under way, and there’s still the potential for criminal and civil actions against Domingo. Time will tell.

      • Stereo says:

        The accuser should be named or shut up!

      • Alan says:

        Bill Cosby’s accusers did so publicly and rightly so. The anonymous assassination of a man’s character is beneath contempt.

      • Gonout Backson says:

        He IS innocent until proven guilty. Maybe it’s time to finally remember this fundamental principle of the Western civilization.

        • Saxon Broken says:

          Er…that is not true. Civil cases are “balance of probabilities”. If he gets fired in LA, he will have to show the opera house was wrong and unreasonable to do so.

  • Caravaggio says:

    Boooooooooooooooooo!!! (long and sustained)

    • 32VA says:

      Booo to you. Long, and lifelong extended.

    • Esther Cavett says:

      These standing ovations are funny. Everybody comfortably sitting down for the applause. Then some leader-of-the pack and sheep-like following going on for the S.O. They rarely seem to be spontaneous

  • V.Lind says:

    Cosby played to sell-out crowds while under investigation, mostly women, mostly middle-aged, who refused to believe there was any truth to the notion that Cliff Huxtable could do any wrong. And there’s one case that did end up in court, and the perp in prison.

    So there is no accounting for faith. People see what they want.

  • Carlos says:

    Without having studied and analyzed the testimonies and evidence, it is as arbitrary and capricious to support Domingo as it is to believe his accusers.

    Anyone that automatically believes Domingo is innocent [because he seems like a nice guy, he has a great voice, a lot of people publicly support him, the accusers took too long to come forward and most did it anonymously] is making the exact same mistake as whoever automatically believes his accusers [because they’ve heard rumors about Domingo, they’ve witnessed other instances of abuse of power in opera, etc].

    Anyone that says that Domingo should be considered innocent until proven guilty should remember that the women who accuse him should also be considered innocent until proven guilty, as fabricating a criminal accusation is also a crime.

    Until we see the results of a proper investigation, taking sides only reflects your own prejudices and says nothing about Domingo’s guilt or innocence.

    • Filomel says:

      Let’s clear this up once and for all – though some of Domingo’s accusers were not named in the original article, they were not “anonymous.” They were un-named – and that is not the same thing.

      An “anonymous” accuser might leave an unsigned letter at a newsroom. That’s not what happened in this case. You can be sure that the AP knows the identities of every single accuser and that in-depth interviews took place. The AP is not reporting the names of everyone who agreed to be interviewed.

    • Gonout Backson says:

      “…the women who accuse him should also be considered innocent until proven guilty.” This is quite fantastic. The women (if they actually exist, since there is no way to know) have renounced that defense the moment they (or their lawyer) went to the press. That’s declaring : “My case isn’t strong enough to resist a due process, I rather get the accused condemned some other, “extrajudicial” way”. And now Carlos wants them to benefit from a principle they trampled in the first place ? Delicious. Bravo to Norman as well, for the “plutocratic”. Ugh.

  • For Fach’s Sake! says:

    I wouldn’t dream of judging his character, since I’ve never met him or any of those who accuse him, but I do know voices and he is NOT, nor ever will be, a baritone, let alone a Verdi baritone. Sex aside, this is a musical farce of scandalous proportion. He seems to have a monopoly on Verdi baritone roles in the major houses these days, and nobody on earth will convince me there is artistic merit in that.

    • Caravaggio says:

      Exactly. A superannuated former tenor with incurable delusions of grandeur let alone baritonal grandeur. That he still has enablers far and wide opening doors for him left and right is just as bad. The scam, the bait and switch, is multi layered.

  • Deborah says:

    While I don’t accuse Mr. Domingo, at least Salzburg should have waited a little longer. But c’est la vie where there is money… thankfully I am no longer going to concerts or opera anymore, they disgust me. Except to see Marina Rebekka goodness gracious she can be good.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      They can’t “wait longer”. He has a contract with them and there are no grounds for cancelling it (e.g. no evidence he has misbehaved in Salzburg during the contract period).

      The test is actually whether they re-hire him.

  • MJA says:

    How do you know the audience was “plutocratic”?

    • Pedro says:

      Good question. I am going there tonight for the rest of the festival and I have had my portion of insults but plutocrat was not one of them.

  • Support in Austria can be a mixed blessing if one is concerned about one’s image. From a quarter to a third of the vote goes to far-right parties, especially the FPÖ. The party was founded in 1956 by Anton Reinthaller, a former Nazi functionary and SS officer. One of the groups most popular leaders, Jörg Haider, who died in 2008, praised members of the SS as heroes, extolled Hitler’s economic policies, and spoke of the concentration camps as punishment camps. The party runs on a racist platform. In a runoff election in 2017, the party’s leader, Norbert Hofer, received 46% of the national vote.

    There are countless decent people in Austria, and the Green Party is surprisingly strong, but I still think better character witnesses and alibis could be found than a conservative region of Austria like Salzburg. There’s a scent of desperation in turning to Salzburg as an alibi. We see where the old patriarchal values of classical music will hold their last stand.

  • Margaret Housen says:

    Good. If the nine accusers choose to remain anonymous then their accusations are lies.

  • Carlos bocanegra says:

    Everything is for money in the crooket judicial sistem of the u.s.a

  • Cantantelirico says:

    Perhaps he should remain in Europe.

  • Gustavo says:

    The service was provided by Rent-a-Bravo.

    It is a Salzburg-based company with offices in Dresden and Bayreuth.

  • Madeleine Richardson says:

    There is absolutely no corroborating evidence, no phone call receipts, no hotel bookings, nothing. The harassment that Patricia Wulf talks about is not major by any standards, more of a nuisance, if indeed it did happen. There is a photo of her up close and personal with Domingo, a broad smile on her face and her hand on his shoulder. Doesn’t look like she was too worried to me. Perhaps she is protesting too much and things didn’t turn out quite the way she had hoped.
    Why the tears for such a minor problem as asking if she were going home?

  • Rachel says:

    When I hang out with my coworkers, when I about to leave, some of them, make coworkers always ask do you have to go? I guess they are all harass me, never thought of that. Hopefully one of them get famous women day. lol

  • Jerry Black says:

    One of the finest vocalist of all my life!

  • Jerry Black says:

    An incredible talent!