Why the Domingo case is failing

Why the Domingo case is failing


norman lebrecht

August 19, 2019

Almost a week after the AP allegations of sexual harrassment against Placido Domingo, major European opera houses are signalling their solidarity and fellow-artists are posting friendship pics. Domingo himself has said nothing, but there are almost half-a-dozen support energetic sites that seem to be much better organised than the average opera fansite campaign.

Los Angeles Opera has refused to divulge the name of the law firm that has been appointed to investigate the Domingo claims. The Met says it will abide by LA’s conclusions.

The expectation in the opera world is that the report will probably result in Domingo’s retirement as head of LA Opera, but no wider consequences.

Domingo has long been known as a woman chaser. So why is the case looking like a damp squib?

Here’s why:

1 Eight of the nine allegations were anonymous. The ninth affirmed that her career was not harmed by resisting Domingo’s advances. On the contrary, he kept re-engaging her.

2 Domingo did not force himself on women. If they said No, he generally backed off – albeit, on some accounts, at the fifth or sixth No.

3 Crucially, no further accusers have come forward.

4 Domingo is genuinely popular among colleagues and has done much philanthropic work.

5 As one of the few opera names with mass recognition, he remains big at the box-office, even when he is just on the billboard for weakly waving a baton or supposedly directing a production. The opera world needs his name. That’s why it has rallied round.


  • Rodin says:

    Mostly good analysis, but Domingo has not been silent. He commented for the AP story – and was comparatively contrite, saying that while the allegations were “as presented, inaccurate,” he nevertheless understood that his behavior may have caused harm.

    The photo with Woody Allen is a bit on the nose. If the allegations against both are true, one is an obnoxious skirt chaser, and the other is a rapist. The implied comparison is a bit unfair, surely.

    • Gustavo says:

      Old schoolboys together shower together.


    • Kolb Slaw says:

      Woody Allen is no rapist.

      • sycorax says:

        I don’t know about rape, but sleeping with your partner’s very young, adopted daughter isn’t exactly what I find “respectable” or “decent”.

        • Karl says:

          But you do know it’s NOT rape. It’s not even illegal. Let’s make a list of yukky people who must be erased from history! Here’s some people who married their cousins: FRD. Edgar Allen Poe, Charles Darwin, Johann Sebastian Bach, Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, Igor Stravinsky, HG Wells. They must all be rapists. Probably even white nationalists!

          OK, I’m being sarcastic. I bet some people are so hysterical that they don’t realize that. Sexual McCarthyism and hysteria have gone too far. It’s gone beyond ridiculous.

        • Robert Groen says:

          He never did “sleep with his partner’s very young adopted daughter. Go away and only come back if and when you can be bothered to get your facts right.

    • Karl says:

      The allegation against Woody Allen was a an obvious lie. He was not even changed because the claim was so flimsy. From NYT in 1993:
      “The doctor who headed the Connecticut investigation into whether Woody Allen molested his 7-year-old daughter, Dylan, theorized that the child either invented the story under the stress of living in a volatile and unhealthy home or that it was planted in her mind by her mother, Mia Farrow..”

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        The Allen relationship wasn’t really in good taste. I mean, his ‘bride’ appears as a child in “Hannah and Her Sisters”. There’s a significant YUK factor – but is that enough to convict a person?

        • david hilton says:

          You are the first to suggest in this discussion that Mr Allen should be ‘convicted’ of anything because of his marriage. So maybe you should answer your own question.

      • Joe Pearce says:

        You are definitely right in that it was a totally trumped up charge. Since they’ve now been married for almost a quarter-century, it’s surely time to put the story to rest. I like more the one about macho action actor of 60 years back, Rod Cameron, who divorced his wife to marry her mother!

    • EricB says:

      I, too, ticked on the pic with Woody Allen….
      Communication trick which is quite unfair and misleading.

  • Alexander says:

    of course, you are smart, Norman. What should one add to that ? 😉

  • John Smith says:

    Were the careers of the other 8 harmed?

  • Anon says:

    6. The classical music world doesn’t care about bad behaviour unless it reaches the level of criminality. (See the recent revelations about Barenboim being a tyrant. No one cares.) Even then, it’s pretty good at turning a blind eye for years or decades. (See Levine.) So much for the humanizing power of art.

    • Nice Try says:

      “The humanizing power of art”? You believed that shit?

    • Kolb Slaw says:

      I’ve experienced worse behavior with no sexual components. Musicians are too-often nasty people.

    • Cerddor says:

      Criminality has never bothered the classical music sector – especially the record industry, where it’s endemic

      • david hilton says:

        And the head of the record industry is? . . . . let’s see, according to the website of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, it is . . . well, quelle surprise, Placido Domingo, Chairman of the Board.

  • Bashar Al Bolal says:

    Woman chaser? Rather a hider from the countless groupies

    • Bruce says:

      It’s interesting that these complaints all come from the time when he was an administrator i.e. someone with the power to offer or withhold employment. I’m sure when he was “just” a world-famous tenor that he had lots of women throwing themselves at him without that added factor.

  • V.Lind says:

    Pretty good reasons posted. Number four is probably the most important.

    • Name says:

      Most important???? One can be a sexual predator in addition to being a good colleague or even a philanthropist.

  • Marcus says:

    The career for Domingo is basically over anyways. He has done the new Verdi roles he could- when he did Boccanegra people speculated: will he do Macbeth? Or Nabucco? Now he has done all Verdi roles he wanted to do, and just reprises them with less efficiency.

    Sure, he keeps adding new uninteresting parts like Sharpless, and could get a new gig or two in Qatar or in the presence of Putin. But his career is not heading in a new direction. There is nothing new.

    The only hope for him is that Bayreuth will reengage him as conductor.

  • Rachel says:

    Oh maybe add: people are fed up with weaponized MeToo BS and public lynching?

    • Daph says:

      For this reason, I really hope LA Opera does not force him out as General Director. Rather, they should send him for formal “Sensitivity training” and go on as normal.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Bravo. Reminds me of many scenes in both book and film of “Dr. Zhivago”. The new ‘bolshevism’ lives, brought to you by an increasingly dangerous Left.

    • sycorax says:

      As long as people think it’s okay when a powerful man uses his influence, money or/and power to harass women, #metoo will be necessary.

      I actually think it’s a shame how “abuse” is handled in the classic scene. It isn’t only that young, vulnerable women are seen as “fair game”, but young men, too – and the abuser go away relatively unscathed because “they are so great”.

      Well, being a good tenor or conductor actually doesn’t rectify abuse of power or does it?

  • Emil says:

    Lebrecht makes an interesting point about the lack of further allegations beyond the initial article (although that does not say anything about the credibility of the initial allegations). However, in the current climate where most of the opera world (in fact, all of it, Philadelphia and SF excepted) simply doesn’t care, why should any victim bother putting herself through that grueling process and the scrutiny and insults that come with it? It’s not as if one more victim will change anything, as this point.

    • sycorax says:

      That’s it. If I were a victim I’d think twice about outing myself now. The victim blaming in the case of PD really was (and is) a shame.

      • George says:

        Many just say that their experiences were different and that they are thankful to Domingo and support him. That is not victim blaming. That is expressing an own opinion which I believe is allowed.

  • Alan says:

    What an interesting choice of picture.

  • Gustavo says:

    Group selection can occur when competition between two or more groups, some containing altruistic individuals who act cooperatively together, is more important for survival than competition between individuals within each group.

  • justsaying says:

    Those reasons are pretty much spot-on, and nos. 2 and 3 especially are valid ones. There is a difference between having a personal flaw (like trying too hard, too often, to get affirmation through sex) and being an actual abuser. Like several commenters, I too have worked with PD and seen him in action a lot (as a performer, administrator, and wannabe Don Juan). Yes, it’s true that he sometimes kept trying until he heard a really clear, definitive “no,” when a true gentleman would realize “ah, she’s not interested” after the second or third tactful evasion. Personally I think some of his high-placed colleagues should have sat him down long ago and said “Plácido, you’re at the top – quit behaving like you’re envious of the high-school quarterback.” But still – this falls somewhere well short of “abuse.”

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      And people conveniently forget (because they dislike the idea of somebody being rich and powerful) that power is an aphrodisiac for lots and lots of women. PD is no different from many men who seem to want constant attention and affirmation to make them feel important. Kleiber was one such person. Then they run how to their endlessly-tolerant wives. Go figure.

      • Bruce says:

        “…power is an aphrodisiac for lots and lots of women.”

        True. And if you’re the boss, then it’s still your job to keep your hands to yourself and your trousers zipped no matter how zealous and attractive (and numerous) your horny employees are.

    • sycorax says:

      I know a “senior colleague” of his who told him so … and afterwards they never worked together again.

    • Pat says:

      Wow, imagine if Pavarotti was still alive during metoo. Even Beverly Sills has said,Pav like to pinch…

  • Lynne says:

    “Five or six times” is pretty much the definition of harassment.

    • Greg Bottini says:

      Absolutely right, Lynne!
      “If they said No, he generally backed off – albeit, on some accounts, at the fifth or sixth No.” Apparently Placido’s squib wasn’t as damp as Norman makes it out to be.
      One wonders why this blog is being so resolute in its defense of this particular long-known and long-term sexual aggressor as opposed to, say, Levine and Dutoit.
      It is time for Placido to ‘fess up and step down.

  • Caravaggio says:

    Wrong. The opera world does not need his name. That some think so is the proverbial laying of all eggs in one nest. It does not have to be like that. But the corrupt opera and classical music establishments have allowed themselves to wallow in their addiction to Plácido Domingo, as in like opioids; the cure worst than the disease. What this all telegraphs is the unprecedented collapse of the vocal arts and of important artists in the business, which vested interests refuse to acknowledge. And so they go back to recycling and recycling their beloved Domingo and his groupies while refusing to admit the man does not walk on water, certainly not in his late incarnation as a fraudulent baritone or conductor. Or conveniently looking the other way when their idol is accused of sexual predation and abuse of power. It is a vicious cycle with no bottom. The amusing thing to keep an eye on is the impending panic when their star chooses to retire or is pushed out. Because who will put bums in seats?

    • Callas21 says:

      His voice was the reason I fell in love with opera at the age of 11. So yes, I will be sad when he steps down. Just as I was sad when Pavarotti died.

  • Paul Brownsey says:

    “If they said No, he generally backed off”

    Don’t you need to distance yourself from the thought that merely inviting someone to have sexual relations is now a MeToo no-no?

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      All thanks to the very noisy, hairy-chested feminists.

    • sycorax says:

      It’s not – if you’re willing to accept a “no, I’m not interested” without reacting aggressive.

    • Bruce says:

      If you’re in a position of power over the person you’re propositioning, then it’s not OK. The less-powerful person is acutely aware that there could be consequences for her job and/or career if she says no. Even if the boss has no intention of retaliating, the underling has no way of knowing that. So consent really cannot be given freely in that situation. If they say yes, they may feel like they are submitting to an implicit threat; if they say no, they know they may be risking their jobs. (Yes, there are always individuals who are not afraid of losing their jobs, but you can’t require everyone to be like that.)

  • HugoPreuss says:

    Perhaps the Domingo case is failing because there is no case. A predator who takes “no” for an answer and then strikes back at the women who said no by hiring them again is not much of a scary predator. Even in the metoo age. The other cases discussed here and elsewhere were of a different caliber.

  • Tommy says:

    “Domingo himself has said nothing”? He released a statement that was quoted in the original AP article:


  • Z says:

    Let me rewrite that last part for you:

    Here’s why:


  • Karl says:

    Reason # 6: He is innocent, just like most of the other men accused in these #metoo cases.

    • sycorax says:

      Of course. Weinstein is totally innocent. And Spacey is almost an angel …

      • Karl says:

        You saw that joke of a trial that Spacey got? The accuser pleaded the 5th! It was a total fabrication in an attempt to win a bogus lawsuit. All these other famous men being accused are probably victims of gold diggers too.

    • Name says:

      Gee, I’d *love* to know where you get your evidence to claim that “most” accused men are innocent. (Hint: that is factually incorrect.)

    • Pat says:

      Karl…Even if 1 out of 10 cases of metoo have zero merit, we still have to hear the victim out. Stop making excuses for sickening predators!

  • María says:

    “Domingo has long been known as a woman chaser” and “Domingo did not force himself on women. If they said No, he generally backed off – albeit, on some accounts, at the fifth or sixth No”…..
    How would you like to have to say 5 or 6 times “no” before being left in peace?
    Chasing is not fun. And chasing is even less funny when the hunter is powerful, and you are not.
    When women say “no”, they mean “no” (unlike what many men may believe).

    You make the point here: “As one of the few opera names with mass recognition, he remains big at the box-office”.

    Money and power make the world go round.
    PS: The photo with Woody Allen is not helping;-)

    • guest says:

      If money is so all important, why couldn’t it save Cosby or Weinstein? Also, what do you know about how they said “no”. They could have left the door open. That can be done for many reasons; political, out of kindness, etc.

      • Karl says:

        Weinstein hasn’t been convicted of anything yet. He probably won’t be either. The Cosby verdict should be overturned, because the judge allowed women in unrelated cases to testify. The law permits “prior bad act” witnesses only in very limited circumstances.

      • David hilton says:

        It doesn’t matter whether they said ‘no’. It’s just as much sexual harrassment if they said ‘yes’. (If the person chasing them is the boss). Two of the women in the article about Domingo said ‘yes’. But the harrassment is still the same.

  • Anon says:

    Excellent summary, Norman. Yes, it is failing.

    Jocelyn Gecker, the woman who wrote the article should be brought center stage on this. It’s the kind of journalism that, while academically and factually correct, is borderline sensationalist and should be examined critically.

    OK, so Ms. Gecker has significant experience as an AP correspondent. She is based in SF and holds her master’s in journalism from Columbia University. She did her research on this article: she approached women rumored to have been harassed by Domingo, fact-checked and with AP’s blessing, published their stories to prove her point. That’s what reporters are supposed to do.

    She may be a good reporter technically but there’s a big piece missing from her reportage: she’s a complete outsider to the world of opera, and unfamiliar with Domingo’s professional status outside of the US. She has blinders on. She never stopped to consider that Domingo has an entire career, a separate fan base and legions of other women he’s interacted with outside the US who would rise to his defense. She looked only what was in front of her own nose, and reported on that. Her report is one-sided and lacks the perspective necessary to truly question Domingo’s behaviors credibly.

    With Gecker’s article, “MeToo” has been reduced to a journalistic formula: follow thru on rumors that a particular powerful man is harassing women, locate and interview those women, make sure you get enough women saying more or less the same thing until you think your point can be proven, and then research and prove those claims to the letter of the law so that AP will buy the story.

    I know nothing about journalism and very little about opera.
    What I do know is that Jocelyn Gecker’s poorly nuanced article is backfiring big time against the whole Me Too movement. Maybe it worked for Dutoit, but her journalistic formula isn’t working this time. Instead of just researching the victims, she should have researched Domingo more carefully.

    No one seems to want to point the finger at the journalist who wrote this article. Everyone else is being blamed except Jocelyn Gecker. Spanish social media is pulvarizing Patricia Wulf, the one named complainant. The anonymous complainants are being insulted and ridiculed. The Me Too movement has become a joke in many parts of Europe. Americans are being mocked for being puritanical and unsophisticated. Jocelyn Gecker has done a helluva lot of damage here, and it’s not to Placido Domingo.

    Jocelyn Gecker needs to come forward and explain herself. Anne Midgette came forward publicly after her MeToo article. Ms. Gecker should do the same.

    • V.Lind says:

      I have debated you before on this, and applaud that you have examined your own posts and reviewed your position. But I still find your conclusions unfair and wanting in accuracy.

      How anyone could read that article and find it “borderline sensationalist” is beyond me. After an introduction that is thorough and comprehensive in its summation of who we are talking about — indicating a perfectly satisfactory understanding of the nature of Domingo’s career and the world in which he operates — it presents the reporter’s findings in a cool, detached, almost clinical way. The reasons for the sources’ chosen anonymity are laid out clearly, and each is followed up with quotations directly from these sources and, in some cases, testimonies from people who knew them, in support. Aside from substantiating the content, this indicates that she knew exactly who she was writing about, and the consequences.

      The article is not only not “poorly nuanced,” it is not nuanced at all — it is clear and specific and detailed and attested.

      You have no evidence at all as to what she knew about opera (nor do I). But I do not get any sense that she does not understand what she is writing about — a very famous and powerful individual in a specific community of the theatre. It is not that hard to get a grasp of, whether you know anything about opera or not. The woman is clearly intelligent and articulate, and, on the evidence of this piece, a very professional journalist. How “inside” the world of opera does she have to be? An artistic director? A singer? A stage manager? AN OPERA CRITIC? What difference could that possibly make? An opera critic would have more axes to grind than an independent journalist, and an artist might well be accused of special pleading.

      You accuse her of this: “follow thru on rumors that a particular powerful man is harassing women, locate and interview those women, make sure you get enough women saying more or less the same thing until you think your point can be proven, and then research and prove those claims to the letter of the law…” — I would say that this is almost a perfect definition of how to present such a story. I take exception to “think your point can be proven.” I think she would be examining their stories to see if there was a point being made. This is textbook good quality journalism, and could be used in classes as an example of how you had BETTER go about it if you ever have to tackle a similar sort of story.

      You write: “She never stopped to consider that Domingo has an entire career, a separate fan base and legions of other women he’s interacted with outside the US who would rise to his defense.” She considers the first part of that in her opening paragraphs. And the “legions” have so far been a few lone voices. As has been well argued in these pages, clearly they have not been treated in the same way as the accusers, but even some of them have qualified with variants on “I wasn’t there” and “I can’t know about others.” Domingo has known thousands of women in his long career. Clearly, as do we all, he has treated them differently. She also makes it clear why many — in a world where women were warned to tread carefully around this man — are reluctant to come forward.

      I do not know what you mean by “poorly-nuanced.” From your critical approach, I would think you would eschew all nuance, as would I — an article of this sort MUST be declaratory, not implicatory. I only find one nuance in this story, as I read it, and it comes from the women interviewed and pervades the story — that it is told more in sorrow than in anger.

      • sycorax says:

        Bravo! You brought it to the point.
        People should be aware that at an organisation like AP it’s never one journalist deciding about a story. The only one who could is the editor in charge and I don’t think he’d publish something without letting the lawyers check it first.

      • David Barneby says:

        Unless you are an opera singer, singing principal roles you cannot really understand what is happening. Placido Domingo has been playing major leading roles for 50 years. Singers have to work themselves up to play such passionate roles, they are nervous before going on stage, they are elated when the come off to thunderous applause. Opera is twice as emotive as straight acting. Without being hyper and intensely passionate you will never succeed in the larger than life world of opera.

      • Anon says:

        Poorly nuanced refers to the fact that she wrote it with no understanding of the context of the international opera world. It’s black and white, just as you’ve stated.

        I am dubious of your ability to discern inaccuraces since you’ve completely misread several points I made. You said “you accuse her of this. . ” I was not accusing her. I was describing what I believe to be the journalistic formula which Me Too has now been reduced to, the one which she follows in her report.

        Read social media to see the legions I refer to. Not just women, either.

        I doubt her involvement in opera because I’ve studied her background and read her other articles. If she knew something about opera she probably would have written about it before.

        And yes, I agree, I’m sure this is a textbook correct article. Just goes to show that it doesn’t always work. “Failing” might be an apt description.

    • Jonathan says:

      Why are you making this about Jocelyn Gecker? Your focus on her made me curious. I googled her and found nothing but an experienced journalist that in the past six months has written stories about local politics and crime. She seems far from being a a campaigner or a biased writer trying to make a point.

      She found the thread of a story, followed it, and reported, all the while having to report and explain herself to her editors and to ensure she was following the Associated Press’ guidelines and journalistic standards, which are much more robust than those of most publications or blogs.

      Gecker does not need to come forward, and she does not need to explain anything. If Domingo believes that the the story is libellous, he can go ahead and sue the AP.

      By the way, did you even read the story? If you did, you seemed to have missed this paragraph, which is key:

      “The AP also spoke to almost three dozen other singers, dancers, orchestra musicians, members of backstage staff, voice teachers and an administrator who said they witnessed inappropriate sexually tinged behavior by Domingo and that he pursued younger women with impunity.”

      The fact that those people corroborated the accusations, and Gecker has their testimonies on file, is precisely the confirmation that the AP editors would have been looking for when deciding to run the story. And that is why Domingo can’t and won’t waste his time suing the AP or Gecker.

      I agree with you on one thing, though. You do not know anything about journalism.

      • Anon says:

        And I doubt that you know much about music.

        Why should the journalist who wrote this get a free pass after all the havoc she’s provoked? I’m not saying she’s wrong or right, but she is as much a key player in this scenario as Domingo or any of the victims or witnesses.

        Anne Midgette was the first to break this type of story. She’s an established figure in the world of music and journalism. She came forward and spoke about her MeToo article. She explained herself. She answered questions about why she wrote the article. Are you saying that Jocelyn Gecker is above or somehow more immune to this type of transparency?

        Come on.

        • Jonathan says:

          Please grow up. What does it even mean that “Jocelyn Gecker needs to come forward and explain herself”? How does that work? Who does she explain herself to? You?

          Gecker is a journalist. She reported a story. If the people in that story have proof that it is libellous they can sue the AP. And then both the AP and Gecker will no doubt explain themselves.

          I for one would love to see that. Every single person that witnessed Domingo sexually harassing women being compelled by law to make a statement on the record.

          But until that happens you will just have to keep fantasizing about a world in which you make a reporter explain themselves just because you don’t agree with the facts they reported.

          • Anon says:

            “Grow up” ? Seriously? What does THAT even mean? You seem to like that expression and it sounds like a comment you’d hear on an elementary school playground.

            Your thinking is so black and white – libelous (which has one “l”, BTW) or not. Every witness being compelled to testify. Anyone whose ideas you don’t like is living a fantasy. And so on.

            It’s not that straightforward. The rules are not etched in stone for your convenience. This is a living breathing scenario which doesn’t necessarily adhere to your draconian view of life.

            Of course Gecker isn’t required to come forward. Again, you are reading that in black and white which is all you are apparently capable of. Let me make it clear for you: as a courtesy, it would be very helpful if this journalist came forward to explain why she wrote the article.

            Again in your all or nothing mentality, you’ve assumed I support Domingo. I don’t necessarily. I would simply like more information, more clarity before I make up my mind.

            So please go back to your milennial playground where everything is so clear and black and white that you have to tell the rest of the world to “grow up” because you are SO much wiser and astute, and consider my point of view. Thank you.

      • David Barneby says:

        When you write an article such as a potentially libelous criticism of a famous opera singer it helps to know your subject. Opera cannot be written about in a purely factual way like local politics, it is another world. Clearly Gecher knows nothing about opera or the people who are soloist singers and dancers. Opera companies such as San Francisco risk major singer refusing to work there and being relegated to second rate.

    • guest says:

      Can you name one journalist who is actually intelligent? I can’t, which is why I scan 6 major newspapers a day and only read a few articles. No analytical skills at all, just endless opinion.

      • Name says:

        You’re obviously reading the wrong papers. Either that or you’re not truly understanding what you’ve read.

        • guest says:

          NY Times, LA Times, Boston Globe, SF Chronicle, Balt Sun, Wash Post. No Name, you think anyone who agrees with your opinion is “smart” and you lack the analytical skills to be aware of that. Keep reading the BS that passes for journalism today. Its all op ed.

    • sycorax says:

      It’s pretty clear you don’t have a clue about journalism. I worked as a journalist and for some time even with AP and I can assure you: At such a big agency it’s never one journalist deciding if something is researched, written and finally goes on the international feed.
      As important Placido Domingo is in our scene he certainly isn’t important enough that such a story about him would become sold so often that it would tempt the AP to risk their reputation.
      Clearly said: Behind this story are documents which are good enough to hold when PD would sue.
      It’s not Jocelyn Gecker Mr D. has a problem with. It’s the Associated Press.

      • Anon says:

        Again – this has nothing to do with the integrity of AP. Why is that so difficult to understand?

        The article was written by one woman. Yes it was fact checked and vetted and approved and published by AP with all the protection and authority and legal protection that that entails but it has Jocelyn Gecker’s byline and she wrote the article.

        Publishing it under the auspices of AP does not give her immunity from criticism, questions about why she wrote it, or somehow put her on some higher plane to the point where her work can never be questioned.

        • V.Lind says:

          But the bases of your criticisms are groundless. She demonstrated with testimonials that there are serious complaints IN HIS WORLD, by people who understand it all too well — hence their chosen anonymity — who are making these claims about Domingo. She does not need to be in and of that world herself — I argued why I think it is better that she was not — to report the case.

          Anne Midgette had to call herself to account in a way precisely because she IS of that world. Those who opposed her published views might have accused her of the very sort of special pleading I referred to above. Ms. Gecker is not in that position.

          I wonder if you and some of the others would be so passionate if the man in the hotseat were a surgeon? Similar power abuses are well-known to go on in hospitals, where weaknesses, abuses or outright errors made by senior surgeons are often unreported because he holds the power of life and death over his juniors in their careers. And in the case of women, it is often sexual exploitation.

          I resist at every turn your insistence that Ms. Gecker has to know a great deal about opera to write this story accurately — and I accept your suggestion that understanding of a subject is an essential part of truth in journalism. I do not accept your notion that because she has not written about it she knows nothing about it. I have been a professional journalist since I was an undergraduate — and many years have passed — and had several specialities as my life and opportunities and experience changed. But there are things I know a pretty great deal about that I have never written about. And, as I have said, you do not know what Ms. Gecker knows about opera (NOT THAT IT MATTERS). She could be a lifelong subscriber with every recording PD has ever made, who listens to The Ring every September unless she can get to go and actually see it, and she may spend every Saturday afternoon glued to the Met broadcast.

          A journalist has to turn her hand to whatever is assigned. Nobody, even some of the know-it-alls on this forum, knows everything. A good journalist can learn an immense amount about a subject — even that “Singers have to work themselves up to play such passionate roles, they are nervous before going on stage, they are elated when the come off to thunderous applause…” (apparently thereby justifying any sexual overtures they make to anyone in their path?).

          This story is not about opera any more than Harvey Weinstein’s story is about movies, Bill Cosby’s about television, Jeffrey Epstein’s about finance, Bill Clinton’s about politics or Donald Trump’s about whatever it is he does. These stories are ALL about men in positions of power who seem to think that their sexual pleasures should be serviced at their call, who use their celebrity as a seduction weapon, and who may well be in a position to make life, usually professional life, difficult for those who deny them. It does not take a degree from Juilliard or a life touring from the Met to the ROH to La Scala to LA and San Fran to grasp this.

          The case is the case — and Ms. Gecker has, through reporting her sources, made a case — and the “world” is incidental in the matter of the case. If it is essential in the justification of it, as David Barneby (above) seems to imply, then let’s hear that justification from the mouth of the accused. I wouldn’t fancy the chances of making that sound remotely credible to anyone who was awake — and I do NOT mean “woke,” in that ghastly construction.

          • Anon says:

            Yes, I did deduce that you are a journalist and understandably would like to assure that journalists should feel free and qualified to report on any subject they choose.

            We are on opposite sides of the fence here and we will never agree. I am a professional musician, and I feel strongly that any journalist who chooses to tackle an artist of Domingo’s caliber at the professional level he’s achieved should have some background and context in the field they’re reporting about. You can have your say about your world of journalism, but when you come into MY world, which is music, and when the career of a legendary artist in MY field is at stake, I would prefer that the journalist reporting on it has some previous knowledge of the profession, of the artist and the context.

            Again, you have misread my words and are inaccurate yourself: I am not particularly “passionate” about supporting Domingo. What I’m not happy about is that any journalist who pleases can come forward with an article like this which jeopardizes a long and distinguished career and everyone jumps to her beck and call with no questions asked. Major performances have been cancelled simply on the basis of Ms. Gecker’s article. I am asking questions. I want to know who she is and why she has written this and what qualifies her to do so. This is not about your world now, dear. This is not about what journalists may or may not do. This is MY world of professional music making and I have every right to ask these questions.

            If you look at Ms. Gecker’s previous articles, she generally sticks to what she knows. She lives in the SF Bay Area and writes mostly about local affairs there. She is not usually writing about what’s happening in other parts of the world. She is writing about her immediate community because this is what she knows best. Why all of a sudden does she break that mold and launch an article of this magnitude against a world class artist in a profession which she has little previous experience writing about?

            Probably because she knows it will hit a nerve, everyone will freak out (which we’ve done) and react dramatically. This is why I see the article as sensationalist. This is precisely what Europeans – continental Europeans (because I assume you’re British) – are complaining about: that the media is fueling the Me Too movement. This is a prime example.

            I have no problem with a reporter dabbling in my world to write about less critical matters, but an article of this magnitude, IMHO, requires a skilled hand and someone who has some background in the world they are writing about. Again, we are talking about MY world, which is music, not yours, which is journalism.

            We are never going to agree about this, I’m afraid. So I think we should just shake hands and call it a truce. Ciao.

      • Karl says:

        It’s the fake news media machine that’s the problem. They need readers and know the best way to get them is lurid tales of rape, murder and mayhem. Who cares if the story isn’t true? It’s so hard to sue a news organization that they don’t have to worry whether they are printing the truth or not.

  • Name says:

    So much wrong with this post…. To highlight just one, speaking anonymously to a journalist out of fear of reprisal/retaliation does not mean the allegation is fictitious.

  • edreamer says:

    we need an other optic. NOBODY has the right to abuse psychically or physically other people. if just one person was abused during his 50 years carreer, he isnt a good human. if he destroyed just one life-its quite enough to stop and delete him. no one knows how hard is it to be sexually or psychicaly abused.
    think on a victim.

  • clfdmus says:

    Nope, if the case it looking like a damp squib to you it’s because of confirmation bias. Right now the people making the most noice are the apologists who either claim that this is some sort of baseless hit job or assert that his behavior wasn’t so bad (despite it being against sexual harassment laws that have been on the books in the US since the late 70s. Meanwhile, an investigation is proceeding quietly, and for all you know other accusers may quietly be consulting their attorneys and weighing their options, given how they’re likely to be shredded once they come forward.

  • Music Writer says:

    1 Eight of the nine allegations were anonymous. The ninth affirmed that her career was not harmed by resisting Domingo’s advances. On the contrary, he kept re-engaging her.

    –These cases do not preclude the existence of other cases that have not yet been revealed. Other investigations may be on-going.

    2 Domingo did not force himself on women. If they said No, he generally backed off – albeit, on some accounts, at the fifth or sixth No.

    — Most people with minimal intellect would consider five or six propositions to be harassments.
    — “If they said no, he generally backed off.” Generally? That implies that he sometimes did NOT back off.

    3 Crucially, no further accusers have come forward.
    — Not publicly, or at least not that YOU know of. How do you know what might be taking place quietly in the context of investigations? I haven’t announced my next book yet; that does not mean that it has not been written and is about to be published. (Just making that up, but see how that works?)

    4 Domingo is genuinely popular among colleagues and has done much philanthropic work.
    — Not relevant. Bill Clinton was genuinely popular and did much good work, but those traits did not preclude his having committed sexual misdeeds. See how that works?

    5 As one of the few opera names with mass recognition, he remains big at the box-office, even when he is just on the billboard for weakly waving a baton or supposedly directing a production. The opera world needs his name. That’s why it has rallied round.
    — Not relevant. His box office cachet does not, and should not, give him a pass. The opera world does not need his name. The huge ego that makes him think he should keep singing is the same ego that makes him a harasser, if the allegations are correct.

    One of the main reasons that celebrities have been able to DO this stuff and GET AWAY with it is because their celebrity status, their “good works,” their “box office draw” or their artistic talents blinds otherwise intelligent people into thinking that they must be innocent Because Reasons.

    • female says:

      I am PhD, so I suppose I have minimal intellect. But I don’t consider 5 or 6 propositions as harrassment. I think it may be worth considering 10th proposition, but not before that.

    • David R. Moran says:

      What misdeeds did Clinton commit other than adultery? The chief assault charge was recanted under oath, and nothing else has been demonstrated, has it? And the WH adultery was fully consensual. Let us use care with terms here.

      • david hilton says:

        He was disbarred and even today cannot practice law because of the perjury he admitted having committed. And the instances of sexual harassment are nearly too numerous to list: Gennifer Flowers was an Arkansas state employee at the time she said ‘yes’; so was Paula Jones at the time she said ‘no’. And of course Monica Lewinsky was a US government employee at the time of their affair. So three admitted instances of sexual harassment in the workplace, committed by the boss. It should also be remembered that Clinton was alleged to have raped Juanita Broderick, though her claims have not yet been tested in court.

  • SDPatterson says:

    It is and always will be the good old boys network.

  • Edgar says:

    Is that not Lucien Freud’s portrait of Placido Domingo in the background? Just curious.

    If it is so, the location would be the MET before Peter Gelb stripped it of all art except the two giant Chagalls.

    It could, of course, also be a post premiere reception at LA Opera following the opening night of a Woody Allen production.

    I take it there is no hidden message in providing us with the photograph of the world famous tenor rubbing shoulders with the equally well known film director…

  • MacroV says:

    Maybe it’s reasonableness coming back. We have tended to lump Harvey Weinstein, James Levine, Kevin Spacey, and Al Franken in the same category, but their transgressions are very different. If Domingo didn’t commit any assault, and he didn’t seek sexual favors in exchange for career advancement – or retaliate – then he doesn’t belong with them.

    I don’t really see the benefit to LA Opera in having an artistic director who only has part of his time to give to the job – they should have a visionary and an entrepreneur, and not just trade on the name of one prominent singer – so maybe his giving up that job, whether or not related to this affair, wouldn’t be a bad thing.

    • Caravaggio says:

      The psychological makeup that fuels the egomaniac that fuels risk-taking that fuels abuse of power is exactly the same between them.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        All of those are the characteristics of people who take risks to SUCCEED. We take the good with the bad. People who work at church fetes and who are nice to others do not go on to be powerful and successful. Fact No. 1

    • Karl says:

      None of the cases you mention have been proven true. None of them belongs in the guilty category. The Spacey allegations have been proven to be not just false, but blatantly untrue. Did you see the details of his aborted trial? The accuser invoked his 5th amendment right against self incrimination while testifying about cell phone messages that he deleted. That case a was a blatant money grab.

      • Laurence says:

        There was more than one accuser of Kevin Spacey, but you keep coming back here and proposing that the slate has been wiped clean, when in fact it has not.

        • Karl says:

          It will never be either. No one can prove they are innocent. And they shouldn’t have to.

          • Saxon Broken says:

            Spacy hasn’t been convicted in a court of law of doing something illegal. But he has been convicted in the court of public opinion of being a scumbag. I am happy with that conviction.

    • PAT says:

      MacroV…you forgot Trump. He was recorded bragging about grabbing women by the * and got away with it!

  • Felicia finaldi says:

    thé point is the only one who should be sad is his wife he was unfaithful and she tolerate it for years encourage him to be immoral

  • ThrownOutOfTheKremlinForSinging says:

    RE: “If they said no, he generally backed off”

    This comes to mind:


  • Anon says:

    As a result of this case the issue of anonymous accusations is being debated heavily in Spain right now. Spain’s Minister of Culture has expressed his disapproval of this practice. Law professors across the country are discussing the validity of anonymous “denuncias”.

    If a complaint is made anonymously, is it any less valid? In Spain, the opinion is that accusers must identify themselves for any accusations to be considered valid. That is very consistant with existing Spanish laws and police requirements and it’s a big reason why this Domingo article is not going over well in his home country.

    Here’s one article from a well-reputed newspaper in the north of Spain, La Voz de Galicia, describing the polemic.


    • mick the knife says:

      yes, anonymous is of no value in an accusation.

    • anonymoose says:

      I have seen this argument, and I don’t agree: the accusers are not anonymous. The AP has withheld their names. They are known to the author, her editors, and the lawyers. LA Opera will surely by now have gotten their un-edited statements in signed affidavits. Big difference. If they had come forward with completely anonymous claims, there would never have been an article revealing what is known to many people in the business.

      • david hilton says:

        Contrary to what you suggest, it’s been reported that the lawyers conducting the investigation for LA Opera do NOT know the names of the anonymous complainants.

    • Robin Worth says:

      Those who do not read Spanish may be interested to know that the article in La Voz de Galicia says that Patricia Wulf’s own publicity states ” she has had the (good) fortune to sing as a soloist with some great artists, including Placido Domingo”

      • Anon says:

        True. This is a big bone that Spanish press and social media have been gnawing on. They pounced on it early on, along with a photo she had posted of herself and her child with Domingo. She’s been ripped to shreds over this. I think I read that she’s taken it down, but people are still sharing screenshots and raking her through the coals over it.

    • Jonathan says:

      Spain, a country were a woman is gang raped and the men that attacked her are initially freed by the courts because the attack was “not violent enough”. Not sure I care much about what they think about Domingo’s case.

  • BillOxford says:

    As I previously mentioned, one of the key factors appears to be the anonymity of eight of the nine accusers, with even the sole named individual indicating that Domingo ceased any approaches once it was clear they were unwelcome. Domingo also did not use her response against her in any way (quite the contrary, in fact). I had presumed LA Opera were aware of the identities of the ‘anonymous eight’ but it appears even they might not know these individuals’ details. I also wonder why it has taken so long for accusations to be made.

    • V.Lind says:

      The sole named accuser may have said that, but the unnamed ones did not. Some of them said precisely the opposite. As has correctly been noted above, they are not named to us but the names are known to J. Gecker.

  • Monsoon says:

    As I said before, in a post that Norman didn’t publish:

    1. Not taking retaliatory action against women who rebuffed him doesn’t make this better. The fact that he was the boss and kept hounding employees created a hostile work environment. Calling him a “woman chaser” is a sad why to brush this aside.

    2. It certainly sounds like he “forced” himself on Patricia Wulf. In the NPR interview she said, ““How do I stop this? How do I get him to stop bothering me?”

    3. There are many reasons why more accusers haven’t come forward: They don’t want to relive the drama, they worry about harm to the career by taking on someone as popular as Domingo, they don’t want to become defined by the media as that person Domingo harassed, etc.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      “How do I stop this”?

      “Look, old boy; I don’t mind your pipes but I’m not at all interested in the one between your legs”.

      Easy when you know how!!

      • Lincoln Center says:

        Sue must be a tRump supporter.

        • Saxon Broken says:

          No, Sue is just someone from a privileged background who does not know what it is to be vulnerable. Moreover, it is usually easier to be empathetic to someone you think you know and admire than an anonymous name.

  • Cantantelirico says:

    Nice photo of two scumbags.

  • David Barneby says:

    Patricia Wulf is retired from opera singing, she has a website so one can check her out. Among other activities she gives singing master classes , see the video.

  • anonymoose says:

    I’m currently working in Germany, I have been warned by several colleagues independently about Plácido Domingo’s antics (including by some men). Three of them spoke from personal experience. I have talked to two of them over the weekend, and both are scared to come forward. (they are working in Europe too.) They are afraid to be blacklisted. I have experienced sexual harassment many times in my career (not by PD,) and am scared to openly take the women’s side for fear of repercussions. The issue is not a sole man being persistent in his “chasing” of women, unwanted or not, the problem is many men in power (directors, intendants, GMDs, donors, even agents!) take “liberties”, and if a woman does not know how to politely and charmingly refuse, the money, next role, contract, engagement, goes to someone else!

    • Gustavo says:

      We’ve been through all that.

      The result is called Musical.

      West Side Story, Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats, The Phantom, Les Mis…

      Let’s rather conserve the good old thing with its divas, dudes and Domingos.

  • M. Elizabeth Suarez says:

    I don’t believe any of the allegations, he is a man that love and respect women and family, he hugs everyone and I think now men should never express their feelings. I respect Placido Domingo and Martha(his wife).

    • Gustavo says:

      A big bear hug for you!

      I assume you meant “no men should ever hide their feelings”.

      Thank you,


    • V.Lind says:

      You don’t usually hug someone by putting your hand down her skirt. I suspect some of his moves may be simply a manner of expression, as I do know men, usually of a certain age, who express themselves in a tactile manner with no intentions other than affection. But constant phone calls, invitations up to rooms where drinks are set and suggestions are made go far beyond this.

      Denial is a mighty big river.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Yes someone else who does not want to believe it is true and hence asserts it can not be true.

  • Pat says:

    My opinion relies entirely on whether he’s a Trump supporter or not. If he donates to Trump, then he approves of Trump harassing dozens of women…

  • A rather old fellow says:

    I have two questions:

    1: Do women no longer play the “hard to get” game?

    2: Are women no longer attracted to power?

  • Glenn R Winters says:

    So if you’re a famous cash-cow you can be a dog. If you are a philanthropist you can be a dog. Got it. I’m in the opera world and the stories I’ve heard about Domingo from those who know do him no honor.

  • Neil Stipp, DMA says:

    No. The opera world does NOT need Placido’s name. Nor does the LA opera. Are you kidding? He is one of many–and i know all about his career. He’s starting to get intonation problems. The LA opera needs fresh new blood. He should not be idolized. He is very fallible, as a person and as a musician.

  • Louis Alberto says:

    We need to learn that we have a society that believe what ever the Press publish. We are a brain washed society.
    The warship Maine had an explosion at the bay of Havana, Cuba.
    Our US Government blame Spain.
    Spanish American War started.
    The press had a field day blaming Spain and publicising many infamous stories.
    Not to long ago it came to the light that the explosion was not a mine but an unfortunate incident by one of the crww members in the Calderas of the ship. Many lifes were Lost, but our Country earned the control on the Atlantic and the Pacific.
    With a lie that up to date is still believed by many.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      “…but our Country earned the control on the Atlantic and the Pacific”

      The US only gained control over these oceans after the end of the second world war, many years later. At the time of the war between Spain and the US, the British navy still controlled the seas. Spain was a rather third-rate power at the time.

  • Hana Hirsch says:

    No decent woman gives in (to a married man) at his first request!
    Nothing unusual to ask 5 or 6 times!
    The article forgot to mention how many women made pass
    at the Maestro themselves…. and how many times HE said NO !