Placido Domingo: What next?

Placido Domingo: What next?


norman lebrecht

August 13, 2019

Eight singers have raised claims of sexual harrassment against the powerful ex-tenor Placido Domingo. The substance is that Domingo pursued the women for sex with the promise of giving them better roles and a suggested threat of demotion. In a milieu where many singers never know where their next role is coming from, this approach represents an abuse of authority.

Domingo has denied misuse of his power.

The spotlight turns now onto two of the biggest opera companies in the United States, the Washington National Opera, where Domingo was artistic director from 1997 to 2011, and Los Angeles Opera, where he was artistic consultant in the 1980s, rising to artistic director and, from 2003 to the present day, general director.

Both companies will be obliged to investigated the allegations. Along the form of previous #Metoo cases, they will appoint a firm of ‘independent lawyers’ – usually a company that has acted previously for the board – and the issues will be subjected to professional scrutiny.

Depending on the outcome of the investigations, the boards will announce their decisions regarding Placido Domingo, as well as a raft of new measures to protect staff from harrassment in future.

Domingo, 78, is singing at the end of this month in Verdi’s Luisa Miller at the Salzburg Festival. On September 18, he will appear at the opening concert of the Philadelphia Orchestra and on September 25 in Macbeth at the Metropolitan Opera.

All of these organisations will reassess their connections with Domingo in light of the developing situation. Domingo’s denial of misconduct, along with his assertion that standards of behaviour have changed over four decades, must also be taken into account.

Domingo has many friends in music and beyond who are likely to stand by him.

The conductors Daniele Gatti and Charles Dutoit, both accused of sexual msconduct, have since resumed stellar careers.

A movie of Domingo’s 50th-year gala at the Arena di Verona is due to open at 500 US cinemas on September 7.

UPDATE: In pussy-grabber’s America, what’s the fuss about Domingo?

UPDATE2: Philly dumps Domingo.


  • David says:

    “The conductors Daniele Gatti and Charles Dutoit, both accused of sexual msconduct, have since resumed stellar careers.”

    Because people will always protect the inherent power structure and the patriarchy. Sad fucking state of things.

  • Anonymous says:

    These 9 are the tip of the iceberg. What’s surprising is that it’s taken so long.

  • sam says:

    1) Oh surely, you could’ve come up with photos of Domingo NOT with Putin or with the disgraced head of FIFA.

    What else is in your archives, a photo of Domingo and Trump?

    2) I wouldn’t exactly say Gatti and Dutoit have “stellar” careers anymore. For Gatti, right now, it’s the type of career a middle-tier conductor in his thirties would be feel confident about. For Dutoit, he’s basically a gig conductor for Asia provincial orchestras.

    3) You are right, the dilemma will be ENORMOUS for Los Angeles, ground zero for the #metoo movement. As for the Met, I doubt Gelb has the cojones to do anything. As for Europe, forget about it, Europeans look at the #metoo movement like it’s a Russian nuclear accident: don’t ask, don’t tell.

    • MWnyc says:

      If what you say about Europe were really true, I would think that Dutoit and Gatti would still be conducting at the highest levels there.

  • Peter Davidson says:

    Has anyone ever Googled Vittorio Grigolo on this?

  • Callas says:

    Lawyers??? I am sure there are hundreds of women performing at WNO and LA Opera who did not sleep with Plácido Domingo and/or told him „no“. And hundreds who would have loved to sleep with him but did not get the chance. Please get off your high horse.

    • Emil says:

      Your honor, Jane Doe may have been murdered, but what do you make of Laura Doe, Christine Doe, and Sandra Doe who have not been murdered? As these three are still alive, clearly my client is innocent.

  • John Smith says:


    This constant assumption of guilt is terrible, but not as terrible as what really happens to women around the world, every single day. It has to be proven.

    • James says:

      Did you not read the article, which had dozens of sources and corroborating witnesses? Did you not hear the collective sigh of “yep!” from the opera world when this came out? Reducing these cases to whether a criminal action was committed allows this kind of abuse to continue unchecked.

      • John Smith says:

        Now that you put it that way, James, I actually agree. I’d like to take that all back. And yes, I skim-read the article. It’s INCREDIBLY disappointing that this happened. But apparently this has been an “open secret” in the Opera world for decades? I think that all “open secret” cases need to be called out then!

        • Saxon Broken says:

          The “open secret” cases are gradually coming out. But it takes a gutsy and determined journalist to break the story.

    • Stuart says:

      In the US, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty has been laid to rest – just check any media outlet…

  • Gustavo says:

    Latin lover.

    – a man from the Mediterranean region or from Latin America who is considered a good lover (Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries)

    He stands in stark contrast to the prudery of Northwestern societies, but he is the reason why we love the opera.

    Don Juan meets Kundry.

    Carmen meets Sachs.

    • Emil says:

      He can be the lover he wants, with whoever he wants, in the numbers he wants, as long as his partners are able to and consent freely, without coercion, harassment or psychological abuse.
      No one is accusing Domingo of being good in bed. And if you read the article and think ‘yeah, this sounds like a romantic chivalrous gentleman’, boy do I have some questions for you.

      • Gustavo says:

        Puccini Riot.

        Witch-hunting a poor old caballero can also be considered psychological harassment, particularly if his behaviour was driven by a genetic pre-disposition and/or cultural imprinting during adolescence.

        • Bruce says:

          “He couldn’t help it; it’s the way he was brought up.” If someone beats his wife, is it OK because his father beat his mother?

        • David says:

          Oh my god–a genetic predisposition? To harassment? Are you serious? Was, oh…Bill Cosby predisposed to rape? What a joke of an argument. Apologists like you are the literal worst.

    • Hildegard says:

      Yeah and Spanish men are not typically “Latin Lovers”. Don Juan is a myth. Carmen was written by a Frenchman. Domingo is the exception, not the rule.

      He stands in contrast to the stark prudery of his OWN COUNTRY, Spain, where men are mama’s-boys or henpecked husbands and prostitution is a thriving industry fueled by married men who have no clue or interest in seducing a woman in real life.

      • David says:

        So harassing an uninterested young woman is seen as seductive in your country? The old “struggle cuddle”? How delightful.

        • Hildegard says:

          Trying to follow you here, David, but I think you’re confusing seduction with harassment. Definitely not synonymous, esp. from a female perspective.

      • The View from America says:

        You going to start stereotyping Blacks and Jews next? Have at it.

        • Hildegard says:

          I did not introduce the term “Latin Lover” into this thread, which is being done over and over again. That’s the stereotype, isn’t it?

          I am saying that Spanish men do not generally fit that stereotype. I am actually un-profiling racially. Don’t be so quick to accuse. We’re on the same side.

          To David, I have no idea what your comment means.

  • Rob says:

    There’s a full moon in Aquarius, Domingo’s birthsign, this Thursday August 15th.

  • Emil says:

    To answer the question posed by the article, I will be very surprised and disappointed if Yannick Nézet-Séguin keeps him on at the Philadelphia and the Met.

    • annon says:

      I am starting to think you have a personal grudge against Mr. Domingo.

      • Emil says:

        I own several of his CDs, I appreciate them tremendously. I saw him three months ago in Macbeth, thought he was great. I felt incredibly bad today, thinking that these great artworks came at the price of breaking the careers of multiple women and causing multiple psychological trauma. If anything, I feel betrayed, that this excellent art was fed in part by making others suffer.
        I feel the same way about my Dutoit/OSM recordings, my Levine CDs, etc.

  • Rob says:

    Othello or Lothario?

  • Save the MET says:

    Marta Domingo was nicknamed “the Owl” at the MET for her constant monitoring of her husband’s activities backstage. His dalliances were the worst kept secret in opera. Shocked it took this long to be exposed in.the press.

  • Jason S. says:

    Domingo’s serial womanizing has been one of the worst kept secrets in the opera world for decades.
    I can think of several sopranos who had terrible voices but often appeared at the LA Opera. I can only guess as to how they got those engagements.
    What, I wonder, do the women mentioned in the AP article hope to accomplish now?
    Are they trying to ruin what is left of Domingo’s career?

  • CGDA says:

    Behaviour standards have not changed. What was wrong then is still wrong now. What changed is the fact that now victims are choosing to talk about abusive behaviour!

  • Marina says:

    Around that time his accomplice in crime was Guillermo Martinez of Operalia fame. Word has it they shared Domingo’s catch of the day.