Domingo latest: The Met plays wait-and-see

Domingo latest: The Met plays wait-and-see


norman lebrecht

August 13, 2019

The Metropolitan Opera has issued a statement saying it will do nothing about the Placido Domingo allegations until it sees the results of the LA Opera investigation.

Domingo is due to sing Verdi’s Macbeth next month opposite Anna Netrebko.

The Met said: ‘We take accusations of sexual harassment and abuse of power with extreme seriousness. We will await the results of the investigation into Plácido Domingo’s behavior as head of the Los Angeles Opera before making any final decisions about Mr. Domingo’s ultimate future at the Met. It should be noted that during his career at the Met as a guest artist, Mr. Domingo has never been in a position to influence casting decisions for anyone other than himself.’

UPDATE: San Francisco Opera has cancelled its October 6, 2019 gala with Domingo.


  • Nijinsky says:

    I find this all so topsy turvy. There’s a lot of talk about abuse of power, and certainly that’s the case would it be true that Mr. Domingo based his decision on whether to hire somebody on whether they succumbed to him or not; but what about all of the people that knew about his behavior and overlooked it, people in power, and why did THEY never tell him it needs to stop, or find out what was going on before it was too late, here again a story of decades ago. And how much does the aggressive volatility of the arguing put it on the front of the news feed, and it becomes again a tool of people in power to use to avoid news they don’t want to get out.
    And when is this image of the superhero going to stop, the star performer who gets all of the girls. It’s almost as if Mr. Domingo is supposed to live up to that in order to maintain the allure, and keep the whole business running that makes others who adore him think that’s what it’s about. And WHY does this sell, and why was his behavior not attended to for years, except when he’s head of their opera company or in their production he’s a big draw. It’s like he himself is supposed to believe he deserves special privileges, and those not going along with it are interfering with art itself. It’s stated here, and about Dutoit that they both said that the felt they needed a woman, Domingo before a performance Dutoit afterwards. What’s going on with turning the world of art (mostly the romantic period) into such a display of sensuality that you get such behavior, as if sex itself has nothing to do with creativity (procreation) but is a resource to maintain a level of ability and celebrity attraction, the creativity behind the music to then follow suite.
    Domingo needed to be told that he had a problem years and years ago, rather than being used as an object for media draw where he himself responds by being as presumptuous as to what that entails as the people thinking that art survives under such marketing.
    What a presumption on all sides that that’s what it’s about. And Domingo needed help years ago, rather than singing “baritone” in the interim because he’s “Placido,” lacking the whole resonance of what baritone is; despite many opera singers in this age of celebrity and medica seem to think they can sing whatever role that pleases them regardless of the true nature of their voice. As Tebaldi said, you have mosquitoes singing Tosca or something; she didn’t even think we would have one singing in Il Trovatore. I just wish she hadn’t insulted mosquitoes. Placido Domingo needed help years ago, WHY did that never happen, is that like against the codes of being aggressively ambitious, and self righteously saying anyone in your way is jealous? And WHY is it repeated over and over again with certain “personalities?” Anyone insecure enough to think they need that is wafted up into the heavenly theater of the Gods of the entertainment industry, surrounded by columns of extra privileges. Is it against the rules that they might find out WHY they were insecure rather than becoming little manic monsters to promote themselves and become commodities!?

    • Cyril says:

      Domingo “needed help years ago?” Sexual harassment is not a mental illness. Other than that, I agree that others around him were enabling him and all who did need to be called out for it.

      • Nijinsky says:

        When you give a person perspective on what they’re doing, and it helps them to stop, it helps them to stop.

        One can’t say someone needs help without it becoming an issue of “mental health” (!?)

        If you could help someone understand their behavior, which is unwanted, and they could understand themselves to stop it, which I think does actually stop it, rather than reporting it YEARS LATER as an example of how things should be now. This is calling it a mental illness when it isn’t?

        When a person grew up in such a violent environment, because of economic suppression, that they don’t know how to escape such associations, such memories, such reflexes coming from experiencing such behavior, and all the stress of the economic and probably social oppression they experienced; but you get to them in time, and someone somewhere is able to help them see how their mind makes associations, how they can’t navigate through their own impulses, and this changes their life, while everyone else might say:

        “Breaking a shop window to steal jewelry isn’t a mental illness. They don’t need help. ”

        THAT’S how it should have been seen!?

        Or stopping murder by putting someone to death, thus excusing it ONCE AGAIN…..

        By the way, I never said anything about a mental illness regarding Mr. Domingo, YOU decided to bring THAT up.

        Are you lacking in such sensitivity to “blare” about?

    • SMH says:

      How about the decisions of many women to seek to use his advances for their own advantages? If the rumors are true and all of this has gone on for 30+ years, then there must be many more….. and many who did that such a big problem with his behavior. I find it mind boggling that a husband would tell his wife that she better get on with it and sleep with PD if she wanted a career. How about the responsibility for that decision?

      • Bruce says:

        “I find it mind boggling that a husband would tell his wife that she better get on with it and sleep with PD if she wanted a career.”

        Was that in the article?

    • David says:

      It’s quite simple:

      -We worship celebrity
      -We’re taught not to challenge authority
      -We see that doing so has consequences
      -We see that there is no support structure to report bad behavior
      -We fear those in power
      -Economic insecurity and a tough business makes people unwilling to risk harming their careers
      -Misogyny and patriarchy teach us that powerful women have earned the right to access young women.
      -Many men like this fact
      -Many women defend it and believe it.
      -Slut shaming and victim blaming are pervasive
      -Opera companies are more concerned with keeping bankable star happy than protecting others.

      Need I go on?

      • John Borstlap says:

        From this it can be concluded that entirely unknown singers / musicians, who have no career in spite of endless attempts, must be morally impeccable, and that success is paid for by grave character flaws and immoral deeds. This offers an entirely new perspective on ALL famous achievers in music life.

      • Bruce says:

        “-Misogyny and patriarchy teach us that powerful women have earned the right to access young women.”

        Too bad there is no edit option for posts, but I believe you meant to say “powerful men“…

  • sam says:

    1) “Mr. Domingo has never been in a position to influence casting decisions for anyone”

    Never? It’d be more credible to claim he never “influenced” a casting decision, but it is utterly incredible that he was never “in a position” to influence.

    Not when he conducted at the Met? Being a conductor is not a “position to influence” casting? Domingo never whispered a name to Levine? Being a confidant and protégé of Levine was not being in a “position to influence”?

    2) Regardless of the Met’s pusillanimous position (uh, no pun intended), the general public and his fellow artists surely could make known their views:

    Netrebko can refuse to sing with him. The audience can picket him. The audience can boo him.

    • Sarah says:

      This is all to do with him as a singers years earlier. And treating him as charged and guilty says more about the amateur judges at home who probably never even met him!

      • Stuart says:

        I don’t have to have met him to read several accounts of his behavior over the years and to “judge” them credible. Whatever else he did, clearly he has abused his power, which in business today generally leads to swift termination. “This is all to do with him as a singer years earlier”. That makes it all okay for you then?

      • David says:

        I’ve met him, worked with him onstage, coached with him, dined with him.

        Wrap your head around this:

        He’s an amazing artist, a kind man to many, a great ambassador for the art form.

        He’s also a lecherous, dishonest, opportunistic misogynist who used his power and position to pursue young singers and has problems with understanding boundaries and appropriate behavior.

        Both exist.

        • Philip says:

          I have also worked with Domingo, and found him to be a sincerely warm-hearted and kind person, surprisingly without the sort of caustic ego that one might expect from an artist of his long-standing reputation. Everyone’s favourite grandfather. It is nothing short of ridiculous that his reputation and career can suffer such damage on the strength of nothing more than a string of mostly-anonymous accusations from long ago, of behaviour which was not even considered problematic at the time.

  • John Borstlap says:

    It seems to be a matter of how to decide between ontological and epistemological recrudescences to avoid premature expostulations.

  • Out! Out, brief candle! says:

    Macbeth? At the Met!? After Cappucilli, Bruson, and the legends who have gone before? And the Met wonders why it is losing audience? If they are prepared to put name recognition before the integrity of the music itself, they are condemning themselves over the long term by diminishing the very art form upon which they rely. Domingo the tenor would NEVER have shared a stage with Domingo the so-called baritone. And Domingo the casting director would never cast a Domingo equivalent. It is lamentably awful, and to claim otherwise is to admit no knowledge of the baritone voice. A shame on the Met, Covent Garden and the rest of them. They are killing their own art form, while simultaneously wondering how to save it! Start by casting on merit, not on name! The game is surely up on this nonsense.

    • sam says:

      Totally agree.

      Peter Gelb might be playing to the current geriatric audience who still adores and forgives Domingo, but that’s the short game.

      The long game is that everyone else is also paying attention to what the Met is doing, and if Gelb thinks that he is endearing the Met to the younger generations, he is hallucinating.

      Of course, he doesn’t care: he only need to worry about the bottom line while he’s still the GM, as long as he can dress up his year-end balance sheet by any means necessary, he couldn’t careless what happens to the Met 5 years from now when the audience disappears and he’s gone.

    • Mick the Knife says:

      give the audience what they want or go under. thats the business.

  • Doug says:

    Quick! Let’s see which WokeScold can scramble to the top of the Victimology Totem Pole first.

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    These allegations against Domingo are very depressing. The liberation of women from sexist attitudes of the past is definitely a positive development. However we should judge behaviour in accordance with the overall context of the time. If we watch Hollywood films of the past, for example, it would be very clear the attractive masculine behaviour of the time was radically different to our times. It is important to take these things in to consideration before we judge elderly men too harshly.

    • Ms.Melody says:

      It is no use,
      The lynch mob is out in full force and the rope is ready.
      The proof, perspective and context of time are irrelevant.

    • Cyril says:

      “we should judge behaviour in accordance with the overall context of the time.”

      The women who felt harassed, hounded and pressured felt it at the time it was happening. We should judge it in that context. They didn’t enjoy it while it was happening, and then 20-30 years later suddenly realize that hadn’t enjoyed it and it had been awful.

      It’s time to take the perspective of those who were harmed, not those who did the harming.

  • Gustavo says:

    Yannick first needs to interview Levine about what was going on in the wild 80ties.

  • Olassus says:

    Because they would lose Anna.

    and B.S. to

    “at the Met as a guest artist, Domingo has never been in a position to influence casting decisions for anyone other than himself.”

  • Sanda Schuldmann says:

    GOOD for San Francisco! Domingo is so over the hill, anyway. He is like a Steinway piano of today, Not the same just the name making people think they are getting something special! Hard to understand the MET’s dilemma! Gelb is an enabler, for years. He is losing money for the company and puts on mostly mediocre production. He should be fired!

    • Ms.Melody says:

      Peter Gelb has reduced the Met to a second or third rate opera company with all the “new and relevant”
      cheap productions, substandard singers and vastly overrated stars.
      Whatever their behavior is or was, Levine and Domingo leave an enduring musical legacy, and Peter Gelb will never be more than a footnote in history.

  • Judy says:

    Being a 70 year old woman, who 30 years ago was still considered very attractive and rather charming, I had many opportunities to advance my male dominated career in a number of different “opportunities.” Fortunately, I did not give into the sexual temptations of the men in higher positions than I.
    I could have achieved what I was able to finally achieve on my own much more quickly, with the “help of my male mentors.” It is a choice that every individual has and the female “victim” accusers of Placido Domingo decided to take the quicker route if in fact their allegations are true. Could it be that the “victims” of today were the “opportunists” of yesteryear?
    Times have certainly changed!

    • Cyril says:

      Judy, your comment is repugnant. I’m embarrassed to even read it.

    • Nijinsky says:

      Judy: To begin with, that there were opportunists that could, as you say you could have accomplished but didn’t, put a higher speed to the growth of their career, or whatever they thought they got out of it to play game theory with the males in power; this doesn’t excuse them or they were as you say “opportunistic” about.
      I certainly isn’t true that would such behavior be going on that anyone saying their career was compromised that, as you say: “It is a choice that every individual has and the female “victim” accusers of Placido Domingo decided to take the quicker route if in fact their allegations are true.” Because that would mean there weren’t women that simply said no to him, to find that their career was compromised.

      To think that someone simply interested in music, rather than winning a marketing game playing game theory with celebrity, that their career was knocked off the shelf, is pretty much what almost happened to composers like Schubert, Vivaldi, Mozart and did happen with quite a few women composers; and we don’t even know who else gave up given the arena.

      And you also seem to imply that anyone thinking they had something to give, and felt that being compromised and thus gave in to those wielding the power, that that was opportunistic, rather than they felt what they had to give might die out, like half the rain forest is in this time.

      • John Borstlap says:

        There certainly are (and were) female opportunists who are (were) so concerned that the gifts they have (had) to offer to the world would take too long time to shine forth, that they decide(d) to become a member of the ‘soloists with benefits’ species.

        This reminds me of a famous French conductor who told me in private that he had chosen ms so-and-so ‘not only for her playing’ – wink wink. And I heard from female management staff, well-informed about this maitre’s soloist hopping, that if they were on the receiving end of his attentions, ‘they wouldn’t mind beause it was such a noble, elderly gentleman’.

        The point is, whether a woman would make clear or not that she is not interested in extra-contractual exchanges.

  • John Diaz says:

    Does anyone remember seeing the infamous Dragon Lady sitting in row A directly behind Placido while he was conducting? She always wore a gorgeous backless gown cut right down to the small of her back exposing a gigantic Dragon tattoo. She would always be seen back stage after his performances. There were also many rumors about her circulating thru the back stage area.