Breaking: Four Met staff complain about Domingo

Breaking: Four Met staff complain about Domingo


norman lebrecht

September 20, 2019

Further to our story earlier today, NPR says it has spoken to four employees at the Metropolitan Opera who are unhappy at having to work with Placido Domingo, following allegations of sexual harrassment As ever, the complaints are made anonymously:

...”Everybody knows that Domingo is a womanizer and that he could be persistent,” one of the Met employees, who has worked at the opera for decades, told NPR…. The same source also told NPR that there were a number of women at the Met who in the past have gone so far as to change their work schedules — denying themselves artistic and potentially career-furthering opportunities of working with the long-revered and influential singer — specifically to avoid having to interact with Domingo. “A lot of that stuff started happening in the 1980s,” this employee said. “As he got older, it was less of a big deal. But still, women knew.”

Another Met employee, a member of the orchestra, said that at least one person has already called in sick for rehearsals and performances of Macbeth to avoid working with Domingo, and said that they personally felt “livid” for having to perform alongside him. “I feel queasy in the pit during rehearsals, seeing him onstage,” the musician said. “Especially given that the Levine debacle is still so fresh, the Met had an even greater responsibility to show that it had evolved. Instead, here’s just one more catastrophic crisis — and it seems that at the Met, sufficiently powerful, popular men are beyond reproach.”

Read on here.

Domingo signing contract with Rudolf Bing

See also here.


  • Gustavo says:

    “Especially given that the Levine debacle is still so fresh, the Met had an even greater responsibility to show that it had evolved. Instead, here’s just one more catastrophic crisis…”

    This is pathetic.

    Climate change is a catastrophic crisis.

    MET is producing the fuss and the “crisis”.

    That little bit of MET-petting back in the 80ties can’t have been that traumatic.

    This was before 9/11.

    Really, what’s all the fuss about in Pussy-Grabber-Land?

    • Kay Langford says:

      Having respect for women has to start somewhere.

      The public can scorn rap music artists and hip-hop artists who show no respect for women in their behavior and in their words.

      But when you see the same sort of behavior in a so-called upper- class Fine Arts organization which is supposed to represent the highest form of Western Civilization,
      you just have to pause and say, which is the gutter art and where is the high level of civilization?

  • Jason S. says:

    I think it is reprehensible that the Met has nothing regarding the Domingo situation. His presence at rehearsals must surely be a gigantic distraction.
    They fired director Jon Copley for making a crude comment to a male chorister, yet they are turning a blind eye to Domingo’s behaviour? It’s as if the Met is saying they don’t care because Domingo’s behavior involves women, and that is OK to sexually harass them.
    They should do the right thing and remove him from the Macbeth performances.
    Domingo is not currently the box-office draw he was in his prime.
    He doesn’t sell tickets.
    They need to just get rid of him……..

    • George says:

      No, they should not remove him. They should let the audience decide. Domingo is very courageous to step out and sing in front of almost 4.000 people now. Reminds me if a Circus Maximus with thumbs up or down.
      There are stilla lot of people who buy tickets, flights and hotel because of him. I saw Macbeth with Netrebko/Domingo in Berlin and the dynamic on stage with these two superstars was just splendid and well worth the money.

    • George says:

      PS: Firing John Copley was ridiculous.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      The Met can’t just fire someone with a contract; they have to show that the person has somehow breached the (implicit or explicit) terms of that contract. That means Domingo needs to do something fireable during his present run if they are going to get rid of him.

  • Hypocrisy says:

    What an absolute bunch of worthless hypocrites.Apparently they had no problem coming to work and working under Levine, who abused, molested, and raped, for decades (!), but god forgive working in the same building as Domingo- a man who is a womanizer, made advances on women, may have acted a little creepy, but never acted without consent. That’s America for you folks!

    • Corrector says:

      “never acted without consent.” WRONG.

    • Ken says:

      “…Levine, who abused, molested, and raped, for decades (!)” And you know this HOW??

    • Mark says:

      “…Levine, who abused, molested, and raped, for decades (!)”

      Any evidence of this ? You’ve used legal terms that have specific definitions in criminal statutes. Please back up your claims.
      And “my deaf cousin heard that his blind uncle’s brother’s nephew’s former roommate saw etc. etc.” isn’t evidence, it’s gossip.

  • Enquiring Mind says:

    These people are simply making a judgement that they refuse to work with someone who has been anonymously accused for what they consider inappropriate behavior. Nothing new here.

  • Doug says:

    How did the Left become today’s Victorian sexually uptight prudes? Carrie Nation comes to mind. “Lips that speak of the patriarchy will never touch ours!”

    How did so-called “feminists” go from sexual freedom and all out promiscuity to cringing at mention of a mere word or a glance from a man?

    Marxism is pure MADNESS.

  • sam says:

    You would think that having 2 successive gay music directors at the Met — supposedly more sensitive to the plight of women — would have an impact on the culture of the place, or that at least they would have something to say about Domingo.

    Nope. Powerful men behave like powerful men, gay or straight.

  • Karl says:

    “None said that they had directly experienced any misconduct, but several say they feel that the power dynamic between Domingo and rank-and-file employees is so overt and distorted that it has created an untenable work environment, and that they felt compelled to speak up.”

    He’s a famous superstar and people like that get special treatment because they put people in the seats. Looks like the less famous singers and non-singing personel were just jealous.

  • Kay Langford says:

    And the Metropolitan has a great opportunity here.

    It’ll be interesting to see if they blow it.

    Unfortunately with these kind of decisions you usually don’t get a second chance.

  • Alviano says:

    Do these people feel uncomfortable working with Domingo because others have accused, anonymously, Domingo of harassment or because they themselves have been harassed?

    • Cyril Blair says:

      Did you read the article? If you did you know it’s the former, and also the fact that after the Levine situation the Met, embarrassed, vowed to do better – and yet here they are in a similar type of situation and the Met is acting as if Levine never happened.

  • Anton Bruckner says:

    Let’s assume PD was a womaniser and persistent 30 or 40 years ago. This would not be permissible today but times have changed. When what is involved is not morally flawed (rape, violence, etc.) retrospectively applying new norms on ancient activity is by itself morally flawed and is intended to destroy people’s life. As long as the criticism is that PD was a womaniser 30 years ago then just leave PD alone and do not destroy an outstanding career.

    • Mario says:

      You have not been the victim, that’s for sure. If you had, you would not put “an outstanding career” as more important than the suffering and stress of the victims.

  • Ms.Melody says:

    Pass the smelling salts please.
    If it” makes you queasy in the pit seeing him on the stage”, look at the score and the conductor and get on with playing music. This is what orchestra musicians are paid to do.
    This affair is reaching the new level of hysteria.
    Enough already!

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    I’m so glad Carlos Kleiber isn’t here; the womanizer par excellence. And a friend of PD!!! Yet people speak about Carlos with such affection and respect.

  • George says:

    „None said that they had directly experienced any misconduct…“

    This is getting out of hand now. What kind of journalism is this?!?

  • George says:

    Is this really a story? They do not like working with Plácido Domingo now?
    So what? There are dozens of people I don‘t like to work with.
    I find it disturbing that such a small group of people get such a big platform. It seems to me that the

    „Majority of Met employees welcome Plácido Domingo“

    in case someone needs a headline. But of course this will generate less klicks online and sell less papers.

  • John Borstlap says:

    With all these stories spreading & spreading, my PA begins to look quite suspicious when instructed, and I get rather nervous in my word choice.

  • Mark says:

    What garbage ! In what universe being a “persistent womanizer” a crime ? Pretty much everyone I know was very “persistent” with the ladies. Unless you have movie star looks and women throw themselves at you, persistence is usually the key.

    Did Domingo rape anyone ? Forced someone into a relationship ? If not, get a dose of smelling salts, come to work & be grateful for the sold-out performances.

    • V.Lind says:

      It increasingly looks as if gratitude for the sold-out performances” explains why Domingo got away with so much for so long.

      Probably also Levine.

      It was certainly true for Jian Ghomeshi, as the CBC brass ultimately admitted — he was a big star and a money-maker, a man to whom no door in Canada was closed and few elsewhere, as he got interviews with just about everybody he invited. Middle managers advised staffers to avoid rocking the boat. The odd complaint that was registered was essentially ignored. Bu he was someone “everybody knew” about and it took hard-working journalists, who took a lot of time and checked everything six ways from Sunday, to get management to come to terms with the scope of their problem and act.

      (The journalists did better than the cops and the lawyers, who went into court with a legally weak case. Ghomeshi had admitted his activities on his own Facebook page, but claimed consensuality, which proved hard to get past. But nobody believes he was innocent).

      The American complainants about Domingo, dealing with an even bigger fish, know that such things happen, whether they are familiar with the Ghomeshi case or not. And as violence is not alleged in Domingo’s case, they are not looking to courts. They are looking to workplaces. And they know the CBC failed its employees — and everyone else in Ghomeshi’s spell because of the cachet they had created for him. Why should opera houses be any different, when the cash register is also ringing?

      • George says:

        Could it also be because there may be some people who actually LIKE him????? Including some of the women who say they don‘t want to harm him.

    • Lynne says:

      Grabbing a breast, putting a hand up a skirt, forced kisses are not “persistence”, they are assault.

  • Tamino says:

    Is it true, that Domingo’s son was caught in the spider web of the scientology cult, and that PD pulled him out, with a lot of money. (but possibly not enough)?

    • Tamino says:

      …which might explain the American based witch hunt somewhat. The whole affair seems coordinated.

      • Logic says:

        Stop comparing this to a witch hunt! Do you know what the Salem witch trials were? Investigations are not witch hunts. No one is seeking to portray Domingo as something that doesn’t exist. Can you guys get that into your head? Whether Domingo is guilty or not, THIS IS NOT A WITCH HUNT.

        • Tamino says:

          It looks like a coordinated affair to damage or pressure him. Better?
          It‘s a witch hunt, if you get the metaphor of an unlawful, unenlightened, mob that wants someone to burn.
          Also, this is not an investigation. This a coordinated media campaign.

          • Logic says:

            So, according to you, the people who don’t agree with continuing to give powerful people a free pass to harass and assault are unlawful and unenlightened? There are investigations being conducted by serious people now that this has been brought to our attention by the media. What an affront to those professionals to say that any of them have ulterior motives. Surely you can see from the comments and voting that the army of supporters for anyone accused of sexual misconduct is itself an angry mob. There’s nothing enlightened about maintaining the status quo when it has been so damaging to so many for so long.

  • Bashar says:

    Getting tired of this crap

  • Maria says:

    More Americans complaining about Domingo!

  • Nick says:

    Met is rotten to the core, from inside out, has been for years!

  • Antonio says:

    It is beyond belief that some people in the opera world still defend Domingo. For years, women working with him have been warned to not be alone with him. Why do you think that was?

    I believe the 20 women who have accused Domingo, and the three dozen people who have corroborated the accusations.

    It is great that this is happening to Domingo. It’s probably the only punishment he will get, but it’s better than nothing.

    It is very common for victims of sexual harassment and these “less violent” forms of sexual abuse in the workplace to never get justice. The accusations are too hard to prove, the cases never go to court, the abusers are never punished.

    So at least let this cloud hang over him for the rest of his life.

  • Jennifer says:

    Let them say it publicly and state their names. It’s easy to mud sling and gossip anonymously.
    There is a large MET staff that must be supporting him if only 4 people allegedly complained.
    No criminal charges have been filed. Nothing is proven. It supposedly all happened over 25 years ago.
    My question: why the public lynching now?

    • Cyril says:

      Just because only 4 people are willing to speak to a reporter doesn’t mean the entire remainder of the staff is “supporting him.” Probably there are many who don’t want to get involved, period, even anonymously.

    • V.Lind says:

      My question is, can you people stop with the courts, already. Unless you do not believe that sexual harassment in the workplace exists, that is by and large what is being charged here, and it is down to the workplaces to investigate and find solutions. These workplaces must have been pretty uncomfortable for so many people to be uneasy in them.

      Domingo on most accounts is an affable man, so it is hard to believe there is a concerted scheme to “bring him down.” Just because his sexual expressions are inappropriate, harassing even, does not remove his other human characteristics — most people are multi-faceted, and an artist of his stature and intelligence and experience probably more than most. Which might go a long way toward explaining why it took so many people so long to come forward to go public with this.

      Especially in the professional atmosphere of 20 and 30 years ago. But now there is a climate in which it is all right to open up about these things, where finally women — and some men — may get a hearing with their complaints. In the old days, they were shushed and any problems swept under the carpet, considered trivial. But we have recently seen acknowledgement that these issues are real and debilitating and must be addressed. This is a good thing. It is progress. NOT a “lynching.”

    • Emil says:

      Because we all know you can’t be fired from a job unless your behaviour is literally criminal.

    • Marel says:

      Indeed Jennifer!

  • Esther Cavett says:

    ==catastrophic crisis

    Calm down , that’s a bit extreme

  • SMH says:

    ”Everybody knows that Domingo is a womanizer and that he could be persistent,”

    So these people “knew” and “saw” and did nothing? Are there records of complaints to management that were ignored? If the Met employees did nothing to report the alleged behavior are they not complicit in it being allowed to continue for decades?Coming out now to throw fuel on the fire when nothing was done at the time is without honor IMO.

    • Tamino says:

      Being a womanizer is a character treat. Unpleasant to some. It‘s not criminal or a misdemeanor.
      It‘s about liking or disliking a person.
      It is astonishing, how he majority of the people in the US apparently has no grasp of basic concepts of enlightened principles like the rule of law, in dubio pro reo, etc.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Harassing your colleagues at work is a breach of your employment contract (e.g. against the law) just not a criminal offense (e.g. you can’t go to prison). It looks like you are the one who doesn’t understand the concept of “the rule of law”.

  • Anon says:

    A “member of the orchestra” who “feels queasy. . . seeing him onstage” ?! Seriously? How can this possibly be touted as a valid complaint against Placido Domingo?

    I am also a prof. orch. musician and I’ve played in plenty of pits in my lifetime. We rarely even have personal interaction with the singers. You sit there and you do your job and you accompany whoever is on the stage above you or whoever they put in front of you in the orchestra. Your opinions about the ethics or behavior of any given artist are your concern, no one else’s.

    Unless Domingo is coming down into the pit and actually harassing the musicians, which would be very unlikely, this “complaint” is ridiculous.

  • Emil says:

    “This person also said that women working at the Met have known to avoid one-on-one situations with the singer — the same kind of strategy that a number of the women interviewed by the AP said had been deployed at other opera houses at which Domingo was appearing.”

    Given the heavy additional labour Domingo’s presence imposes on everyone, I can very well see why his presence is unwelcome.

    • SMH says:

      Stop clutching your pearls.

    • Tamino says:

      Male executives, professors, etc. avoid one-on-one situations with subordinated female employees or students regularly these days, for obvious reasons. They leave the doors open in meetings. They leave the elevator, if being alone with a female employee. It‘s nothing special or reserved to women.

    • Anon says:

      Emil, I ask you: how would a member of the MET orchestra ever be having a one-on-one with Domingo?

      At least one of these 4 women is a MET orchestra member. How exactly would they would be working in a one-on-one situation with Placido Domingo that they’d have to “avoid”?

  • Antonio says:

    When will people on this website understand that Domingo is not being accused of being a womanizer or of asking women out?

    The first AP story says it very clearly: “One accuser said Domingo stuck his hand down her skirt and three others said he forced wet kisses on their lips”. None of that is okay. That is not how a decent man behaves towards women. That is not behavior that was allowed in the past and is banned now because we are prudes. It has always been wrong.

    If you think it is okay for Domingo to kiss or grab a woman without her permission, then you are a very sick individual, and I can only wish you experience being kissed or touched by someone you do not feel attracted to; maybe that way you will understand how those women felt.

    • SM says:

      Thank you for your posts, Antonio.

    • Anon says:

      With this latest report, the accusations of “these women” now include 4 women who apparently never had any personal contact with Domingo.

      One was sitting in an orchestra pit “feeling queasy” because he was onstage. They observed him, they heard the rumors, they judged him with no personal interaction with him whatsoever. That is not harassment.

      • Antonio says:

        No. These four women are not included amongst the people accusing Domingo of sexual harassment or assault. They are complaining about the safeguarding policies of their employer, the Met Opera. They feel uncomfortable having to work with someone who is being investigated for sexual misconduct. Right or wrong, that is their right. The fact that you would confuse that with a proper accusation of sexual harassment against Domingo is your own grotesque and infantile interpretation.

        • Anon says:

          Antonio, the title of Norman’s report here is “4 MET Staffers Complain About Domingo”. It couldn’t be clearer. Perhaps you are confused. And judging from your insults, very rude as well.

          The MET’s policies and how people react to them are not Domingo’s problem. He is coming to work and doing his job as he should be right now. If people around him are uncomfortable, let them “feel queasy” and take that as a complaint to MET management. It is not a valid complaint about Domingo. He is probably feeling equally “queasy” about people who are passing judgement on him from 2nd hand information and from what they read in the press.

          Let me remind you that that the MET orch. players, one of whom is one of the 4 women here, who is quoted extensively in the NPR article, are among the highest paid, most powerful orchestra players in the world, with starting salaries well into 6 figures, and one of the strongest labor unions in the US, the AFM, ready to come to their defense.

          If any orch. member has valid complaints about artists they are working with or management’s labor policies, why are they talking to NPR and not they taking it to the union? Answer: because “feeling queasy” or “uncomfortable” about the presence of a co-worker or uncomfortable at mgt’s labor policies is not a reasonable complaint.

          As an orch. player myself, I have no sympathy whatsoever for some entitled MET orch. musician whining to NPR because they have to sit in a pit accompanying an artist they don’t approve of.

          • Antonio says:

            Oh I remember you, Anon. You are the same person that called Jocelyn Gecker, the AP reporter, “a stubborn, obstinate bitch with a vengeance”. When I called you out about that, your reply was:

            “I think and write in 2 languages and in a moment of passion, my English failed me”. (One has to wonder what your other language is, in which calling a woman a bitch would be acceptable and not misogynistic and vulgar).

            I am assuming that your English is failing you again, if you don’t understand that the fact that these four women are complaining about Domingo being allowed in their place of work does not mean that they are accusing him of sexually harassing or assaulting them.

            Maybe practice your English a bit more? By the way, I am not concerned at all about you considering me rude. Not after I saw you refer to a woman as “a bitch” because you disagree with her work.

          • Anon says:

            Antonio, you haven’t addressed anything I’ve actually said. You are attacking who you think I am and with a vitriol which is so strikingly absurd in this situation that I can only feel sorry for you.

            I’ve made my point. I think I’ll just leave you be, howling at the universe. You have my deepest sympathy. Ciao.

      • Cordula says:

        Do you have a source for that? Where does it say that?
        How can you know that some women haven’t met him?

        • Anon says:

          Cordula, the source is NPR, which specifically says that none of the 4 women interviewed for this article has had direct contact with Domingo.

  • Cassandra says:

    It is heart-rending to witness the attempts at character assassination that is going here week in, week out, compared to the quality of the accusations made against Mr Domingo. The case is feeble and you know it.

    Even though I’m sure he, himself is professional enough to be able to concentrate on the work at hand, some poison is bound to leak in. And have you given any thought to how this affects the whole family; how his wife is twofold hit every time you lash out.

    Can you imagine what it takes to walk out on a stage the size of the Met and turn yourself inside-out, facing 4.000 pair of eyes, even under “normal” circumstances with an uncorroded support around you?

    The voice is a delicate instrument, sensitive to anything and everything that goes on.

    If this man is capable of remain standing upright and deliver on Wednesday night, it will be nothing short of heroic.

    • Anon says:

      Brava to you, Cassandra, for mentioning this. I was thinking this also reading one social media account of Domingo’s performance last night at the MET dress rehearsal with audience. The viewer said his initial entrance was tentative, that he seemed to be unsure of himself when he first came onstage. He apparently gathered full steam, though, and was heartily cheered by the dress rehearsal audience. The viewer posted a video of his bows last nite, with the audience cheering for him, so apparently he overcame it. But still, as you say, it must be awful to come onstage in that light.

  • Kay Langford says:

    Tuesday night , September 24th The Met has finally been forced to let Domingo go, under duress.
    Apparently my main new source, NPR was the corroborating source which the Met was looking for.
    Even the state senator representing Lincoln Center demanded that Domingo be let go or there should be new management at the Met.
    In a terse statement, Domingo said in so many words that after 51 years he wouldn’t be coming back to the Met.
    It’s too bad that the management at the Met had to be forced by public opinion to do the right thing.
    They could have had the same result without the black eye that they’re now going to maintain for a long while.