Breaking: Placido Domingo is out of the Met

Breaking: Placido Domingo is out of the Met


norman lebrecht

September 25, 2019

The singer ‘has agreed to withdraw’ from the Metropolitan Opera’s performance of Verdi’s Macbeth amid allegations of sexual misconduct, the opera house announced last night.

Domingo, 78, said he would never sing at the Met again. The Met’s general manager Peter Gelb said: ‘We are grateful to him for recognizing that he needed to step down.’

Macbeth is due to open tonight. Zelko Lucic will sing the title role.

The announcement came 24 hours after the Met’s general manager, Peter Gelb, let it be known that he was standing by Domingo.

Domingo said: ‘I made my debut at the Metropolitan Opera at the age of 27 and have sung at this magnificent theater for 51 consecutive, glorious years,” the star said. “While I strongly dispute recent allegations made about me, and I am concerned about a climate in which people are condemned without due process, upon reflection, I believe that my appearance in this production of ‘Macbeth’ would distract from the hard work of my colleagues both on stage and behind the scenes.

‘As a result, I have asked to withdraw, and I thank the leadership of the Met for graciously granting my request. I am happy that, at the age of 78, I was able to sing the wonderful title role in the dress rehearsal of ‘Macbeth,’ which I consider my last performance on the Met stage.’

Only 24 hours ago Gelb was insisting there was no reason Domingo should go, but internal pressure appears to have overtaken them.

Domingo has sung 706 times at the Met and conducted 169 nights.

He is now effectively persona non grata on US stages, while continuing to be welcomed in Europe.

UPDATE: Domingo: The End




  • Olassus says:

    Gelb is as yellow as his name.

    • Laurence says:

      But not as black as diehard Domingo supporters.

      • Nick says:

        MET was always disgustingly politically correct and always WRONG! That is why where they are now! Losing best artists and keeping creepy directors leads into the NOWHERE! And that is where they are!

        • Yes Addison says:

          Neither Domingo nor Levine (if that’s the reason for the plural) was a best anything at the time the Met lost them. One was a tenor either pushing or pulling 80 and being allowed to sing baritone roles. The other was a shadow of his former self, having to withdraw from conducting complex scores by Berg and Strauss, getting through simpler ones only with a lot of help. Neither of them was working cheap, either.

          Rather, they were major musical figures of an earlier era. The artistic loss to the Met of the late 2010s (separate from box-office loss, which there may be in Domingo’s case) is nil.

          I’m not sure which creepy directors you mean, or what they’ve done that’s creepy, but a stage director has also been asked to leave the Met over an incident in rehearsal. So I don’t think directors are being shown favoritism.

    • Cassandra says:

      Don’t be too hard on Gelb, he was next in line. It all went political. Check out N.Y.S. senator Brad Hoylman’s twitter etc. from yesterday.

  • V.Lind says:

    The Met also dropped Grigoli — a lot faster and on considerably slighter accusations, showing definitively that star power is no myth.

    I find Gelb’s gratitude that Domingo realised he “needed” to step down utterly hypocritical in light of what he was saying yesterday. Not sure Domingo is lucky in his “friends.”

    Interesting that he chooses to “strongly dispute” rather than “deny” the accusations. Looks as if he is resting on the ambiguity of his original response. But he clearly knows he is in a cleft stick.

    There is a slight difference between agreeing to withdraw and asking to withdraw. The NY Times says he was told to, but given the graceful out.

    I wonder how long European solidarity will hold. And what the LA investigation will find now.

    It’s all very sad and tawdry. An ignominious end to a glorious career. I doubt even his accusers will be cheering today.

  • AMiller says:

    Its not clear to me why PD has stepped down from the Met. The Los Angeles investigation isn’t over. Have there been any complaints from Met staff?

  • anon says:

    Don’t. Overstay. Your. Welcome.

  • George says:

    After all this pressure Plácido Domingo was courageous enough to stand and sing in front of 4.000 people today. Until this senator made a call, twittered and blackmailed Gelb and now feels not like Brad HOLYMAN whereas he is just Brad Hoylman (Heulmann in German fits it well).
    Why the hell does the audience not get a chance to have a say at all in all of this by giving them a chance reacting to the performance. After all their tickets and donations pay the people at the Met.

    • Nick says:

      Because the audience is the same s**t as Gelb, Met and the rest of the Met administration. They go to Met to show off their new jewelry, dresses and to socialize with “important” people, not to listen to Music and great artists.

  • George says:

    Typo: It should read „He feels like Brad HOLYMAN“.

  • Giora says:

    That why I prefer Europe to US!! Nobody is guilty without a due process!!

    • Laurence says:

      He wasn’t being accused of a crime, just of being a pig, of which Europe is certainly more tolerant of. Good luck with that.

      • Brettermeier says:

        “He wasn’t being accused of a crime, just of being a pig, of which Europe is certainly more tolerant of. Good luck with that.”

        Maybe. But we don’t make them president here.

        • Don Ciccio says:

          Correct. You make them ministers (e.g. Johnson, Berlusconi) and you also make ex-Nazis chancellors (e.g. Waldheim).

          • Brettermeier says:

            “you also make ex-Nazis chancellors (e.g. Waldheim).”

            See, we’re both wrong: The A*strians actually made him president. (At least they chose an ex-Nazi. 😉 )

      • Karl says:

        The key word is “accused”. I accuse YOU of being a pedophile. Now you should be banned from this blog. Right? See how unfair that is?

        • Laurence says:

          Well, that’s up to Norman, is it not? I trust his judgment. As Corliolanus might have said, “There is a blog elsewhere…”

        • Brettermeier says:

          “The key word is “accused”. I accuse YOU of being a pedophile. Now you should be banned from this blog. Right? See how unfair that is?”

          Not sure to whom you’re responding, but you obviously need help comprehending things.

          You ready? Great:

          You got the keyword wrong. “He wasn’t being accused of a crime” means that he wasn’t being accused of a crime. The keyword is “wasn’t”. It does not matter what, because it was not.

          If you still want to use your analogy, it has to be

          “I don’t(!) accuse YOU of being a pedophile.”

          You’re welcome.

    • Nick says:

      Well…….we will have to see about that yet! But don’t hold your hopes too high.

    • Ms.Melody says:

      Just look what happened to Grigolo in the “enlightened” UK.
      It is still in Europe for now. And Gelb has dropped him like a hot potato as well.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Er…Grigolo was accused of breaching his employment conditions, there was an investigation, and he was found guilty (on the balance of the evidence). He was then fired. This is a very reasonably process.

    • Brian says:

      He had his due process. It’s called investigative reporting. For all of our problems in the U.S., the news media here still holds the rich and powerful to account, including Domingo.

      • norman lebrecht says:

        Brian, you know that is not the case. You have a President who bragged of making unwanted assaults in women. Have the media dented him in any way?

        • Karl says:

          You are just contributing to the problem. Jokes are not admissions of crimes. That was a variation of an old Steve Martin joke that I used to tell all the time. It was much funnier the way SM told it.

        • Brian says:

          Norman, I certainly see your point. In the case of Trump, he simply doesn’t care. He flouts the law and institutional norms. But I’d argue the news media has done its job insofar as bringing to light (and scrutinizing) the many accusations against him.

          However one feels about the Met’s handling of the Domingo situation, reporters checked out the accusations against him too. It will now be up to other opera companies to weigh the matter and decide how important it is to them and their bottom lines.

  • Emil says:

    While I of course think that Domingo had to withdraw (and should have done so earlier), I’m astonished at how Peter Gelb has managed to alienate literally everyone on every side of this issue.

    • George says:

      At least he tried to keep the contract and I think this was the mimimum the MET could do for Plácido Domingo after 51 years of him filling their seats, cinema and radio broadcasts.
      Not to mention the millions from sponsors who loved to shake Domingo’s hand in return.

    • Novagerio says:

      Emil: Because a senator wrote on twitter that if PD is not removed, then Peter Gelb should be removed.

      I wonder if he also sent him a personal mail.

  • Alphonse says:

    These “MeToo” morons will rue the day…

    • Nick says:

      YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. It is unfortunate that the world came to this in only about 50-60 years. The whole stink started in France, of course (where else!) in about 1968 and then spread all over the world.

    • Emil says:

      You mean that if one sexual harasser is force to leave, other sexual harassers might be forced to leave?
      I’m honestly struggling to see what the coming apocalypse might be.

      • Karl says:

        No – the definition of sexual harassment has expanded to an absurd level. And what’s even worse is that the rules are only being applied to men, not women. I have mentioned before that at my workplace just touching a woman on the shoulder now is considered harassment. I have had a few women do that to me, but if I complained that was harassment it would be considered a joke.

        • Brettermeier says:

          “but if I complained that was harassment it would be considered a joke.”

          Then you now know how women felt. That’s a good start!

          • Karl says:

            Purposeful misunderstanding or brain dead? I didn’t say just being touched actually bothered me. It doesn’t. And it should not to anyone else. If I complained about something like that it SHOULD be considered a joke. But when women make false or whiny complaints people are all falling over now.

          • Brettermeier says:

            “And it should not to anyone else.”

            Says who? You?

            Please, tell me more about what or what not should bother us! 😀

            You’re a weird one, aren’t you.

          • Karl says:

            False accusations should bother anyone with an ounce of compassion. Or brains. You seem to lack both.

          • Claudio says:

            He’s actually not that weird. Incels and misogynists are quite common these days. Especially in the comments section of this blog.

          • V.Lind says:

            And when they make true ones they should be ignored if they are not timely? Are you not aware of the general atmosphere in which women worked 20 and 30 years ago? Have you not read the Weinstein complainants, most of whom are named and many of whom are very famous themselves?

            Placido Domingo has just resigned his Met career — under duress — do you really think these accusations are groundless now? If they were, he would have fought them more vigorously. But he has had people like you doing it for him, and it looks as if for a while he thought that would be enough.

          • Saxon Broken says:

            Karl writes: “being touched doesn’t bothered me. And it should not to anyone else.”

            This is nonsense. You shouldn’t touch someone if you know it will bother them. That is what is meant by harassment. If you don’t get it, then you deserve to be fired.

  • Wiener says:

    American bigotry

  • Caravaggio says:

    The disgraced (self disgraced) and disgraceful is out. This is a good, positive development. Miracles do happen on occasion and so it appears that Gelb and company grew a pair overnight. Who could have foreseen such a miracle materializing?

    On a related note, I have been watching TV interviews with the survivor of the Stanford University rape case (her name escapes me). Although her situation was obviously far more dramatic, she succinctly describes why so many victims remain silent and anonymous. A misogynistic justice system and society are stacked against them.

    • Karl says:

      You know that a group of WOMEN formed organizations called “Families Advocating for Campus Equality’ and “Save Our Sons” to protect the rights of men on college campuses. They actually believe that was an unfair trial.

      • Claudio says:

        Yes, there are women who defend rapists and other perpetrators of sexual abuse. We even have some here. And the fact that they are women does not give them any special credibility.

        In the Stanford case, Brock Turner was found guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman he did not know. He pulled her behind a dumpster and assaulted her. Two Swedish students interrupted the assault and after he tried to run away they held him down until the police arrested him.

        During the trial Turner alleged that he had met the woman at a party and they were kissing and touching when they were interrupted by the Swedish students, and he denied that he tried to run away. Damningly. he stated that the woman gave verbal consent to be touched.

        The prosecution proved that Turner was lying and he was found guilty. Amongst other things, it was proven that the woman was so intoxicated that she could have never given verbal consent.

        Turner was handed a minimum sentence and the uproar caused by that led to the judge losing his job after a recall referendum. Turner appealed his conviction and lost.

        Turner’s guilt was not disputed by his family and friends in their sentencing statements. The blamed alcohol and lack of judgement, but they didn’t say he was innocent.

        Families Advocating for Campus Equality and Save Our Sons insist Turner is innocent and keep repeating the arguments that were disproven during the trial. So basically they have zero credibility except in the eyes of misogynists and rape apologists.

        • Caravaggio says:

          And let it not get lost, the rapist got a jail sentence of only 6 months in county jail, of which he served only 3. The math of justice does not compute. On the other hand, Turner had to register as a sex offender which will follow him for life and, as you stated, the judge was recalled, also for life. The victim is now emerging from the shadows of her nightmare and is coming into her own valiantly and with renewed strength and purpose. She is fortunate in this respect. Others less gifted are not so fortunate. I only wish her the very best in life going forward

  • M McAlpine says:

    I can remember a leading sportsman retiring when at the height of his considerable powers. When ask why he said, “I want people to remember me as I was at my best.” Pity PD didn’t heed similar advice. Whatever the rights and wrongs, it is a sad end to a great career.

  • Save The MET says:

    Yesterday’s event should have been a non event. Another example of the horrendous business instincts of Peter Gelb. The hapless GM of the MET should have quietly cancelled Domingo’s weeks ago. It would have saved Domingo the embarrassment of the situation and would have had a calming effect within the house. Instead he created yet another hostile situation clearly demonstrating that he has poor managerial instincts and learned nothing from the Levine situation. Metropolitan Opera Board, do your job and get rid of the buffoon you have allowed to do endless damage to your company with your complicit, tacit approval.

    • Karl says:

      I disagree. There was no way to avoid controversy. If I were in Gelb’s shoes I would have just told the truth and said that NO 20-30 year old complaint is credible. I would have shown the door to anyone who said they didn’t want to work with Domingo.

      • Laurence says:

        Thank the good lord you don’t run an opera company! Keep the gropers and fire the complainers? Karl, you are shameless. Will you ever see the light? “I would have just told the truth”? Your “truth” is the thing that is 20-30 years out of date.

        • Karl says:

          Have you ever run anything? I have. I once ran a cafe owned by state government. Two women were committing massive payroll fraud and when I reported them they falsely accused me of threatening them. I was put on leave and the two cheats kept their jobs. A year later the big bosses in the business office noticed how much money the cafe was losing and shut it down. If I had stayed in charge it would not have lost money and would have stayed open. Rewarding the hard workers and kicking out the whiners will keep a place running. I know it wasn’t an opera I ran but the principal is the same everywhere.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      You really can’t just fire someone if they don’t want to go. Gelb pretty much handled a difficult situation as well as he could. In the end, he managed to persuade Domingo that he had to go. Lots of other opera houses are having very similar conversations with Domingo at this time.

  • Jason S. says:

    I don’t think that Peter Gelb can be blamed for the way the Met handled the Domingo situation. As was the case with the firing of James Levine, the Met’s executive board of directors were making the decisions, Gelb merely carried out their wishes. Ann Ziff, the chairman of the board, has close ties with Domingo, also being on the board at the L.A Opera, as well a a big donor there. I doubt she was eager for them to fire Domingo. At least they finally did the right thing in the long run. It’s not as if Domingo sells tickets anymore. The single Macbeth that doesn’t have Netrebko hasn’t sold well at all.

    • Karl says:

      Gelb should have stood by PD. I would have even if that meant I lost my job too.

      • Laurence says:

        You mean you would have sacrificed your livelihood to support a rich superstar? How brave of you! A medal no doubt awaits.

        • George says:

          Guys, all of these women were ADULTS! Patricia Wulf was 40 years old at the time when he made a pass at her (he did not touch her once). Why do these women have such a low self esteem?

        • Karl says:

          That rich superstar brought in paying customers and there was no solid proof of any wrongdoing, only 20-30 year old allegations. Gelb’s job is to do what best for the MET and throwing Domingo under the bus is only going to hurt in in the long run.

        • Bruce says:

          Don’t forget, Gelb has been getting paid pretty well all these years too. Losing his job wouldn’t mean poverty or anything close to it.

      • Mick the Knife says:

        He did stand by PD. Then PD resigned.

  • Eilin says:

    20/30 year old anonymous complaints of supposed “sexual harassment” (good luck defining the parameters of this particular “offence”) with serious concerns about the only named complainant’s credibility given her gushing references to PD on her current real estate LinkedIn account , posing for pics with her 4 year old in PDs arms post performance etc. amounts to historical, questionable,uncorroborated, unsubstantiated allegations by unnamed sources, which would not be touched by any court in the land.
    The 20/30 year delay in making these allegations aswell as the insistence on anonymity is wholly incomprehensible. 1.Comparing him to Levine who is a convicted pedophile=wrong
    2.Suspending him first, investigating him second=wrong
    3.Publishing anonymous, uncorroborated allegations while naming and shaming the accused=wrong.

    • V.Lind says:

      Where was Levine convicted? Did I miss that?

      And for the zillionth time: THIS IS NOT ABOUT COURTS. IT IS A WORKPLACE HARASSMENT ISSUE, TO BE SOLVED IN THE WORKPLACE. Eight or wrong, this is the Met’s workplace solution.

      • Anon says:

        Yes, it is a workplace harassment issue. To be solved in the workplace, not by the press.

        How many labor unions are represented by MET workers? Why wasn’t protocol followed and the complaints taken to the unions? It is the function of labor unions to investigate and resolve workplace harassment complaints. That should not be the function of random journalists.

        No matter how you slice it, the press has served as judge, jury and executioner in Domingo’s case, with no checks or balances whatsoever. US opera companies have obediently acquiesced to AP and NPR, not even waiting for LA Opera’s investigation.

        Domingo was tried and hung by the press and the press alone. I find that outrageous.

        • Saxon Broken says:

          Actually, Domingo was persuaded that he ought to resign when Gelb made it clear to him that the staff at the Met really didn’t want to work with him. Gelb allowed Domingo at least some dignity in resigning and to make a gracious statement; but the message was clear. It was the staff at the Met which did for Domingo, not the press.

          • Anon says:

            Understood, yes. But the original furor was caused by the AP article last month. The MET staff, I believe, was reacting to that, as well as to the more recent NPR article. It was a frenzy initiated and stirred up by the press.

            And I honestly do not believe that anyone persuaded Domingo to resign. He was put into an untenable situation with no other alternative.

    • Karl says:

      Levine is not convicted of anything. There was one false allegation that he had sex with a minor, but that was investigated and it was found that the ‘victim’ was above the age of consent.

      • Save the MET says:

        Folks, the statute of limitations had run out before the accusers felt strong enough to come forward. He damn well could have been prosecuted had they not lived in fear of retribution to their careers.

    • Ken says:

      1) when did this purported “conviction” happen? Date, month/day/year. Thanks.

  • Thank FACH for that! says:

    Baritones of the world, your prorogation is over!

  • Jack says:

    “He is now effectively persona non grata on US stages, while continuing to be welcomed in Europe.”

    That’s because the US has been seized by inquisitorial MeToo hysteria while Europe remains relatively sane in such matters.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      He is not “welcome in Europe”. Most of the opera houses will quietly drop him as soon as conveniently possible.

      • Anon says:

        No. He will retire gracefully before that happens. Regardless of what they think of him, Europeans will allow him dignified exit. This has been handled crudely and abruptly in the US. That will not happen in Europe.

  • Bruce says:

    It’s kind of too bad, because Domingo used to be considered the next great opera conductor. Of course, back then, people thought he would stop singing in his late 50’s like a normal tenor and then have 25+ years to devote to the podium.

    It’s also kind of ironic, since as a conductor he would probably have had greater access to/ power over women, and more protection from their accusations…

  • Petrina Hurlbert says:

    Puritan and hypocrite Society

  • Petrina hurlbert says:

    It is terrible to condemn a person without due process. I thought we have a system where you are innocent until proven guilty

    • Bruce says:

      A court of law and public opinion are not the same thing.

      Back in the 1950s, when Ingrid Bergman gave birth to Roberto Rossellini’s child while still married to Petter Lindstrom, she was excoriated in the US and didn’t get asked to work here again for years. She may have lost some great roles and maybe millions of dollars. She was never charged with a crime.

    • Claudio says:

      You know what’s even more terrible? To be kissed and touched by a person you are not attracted to, and to not be able to do anything about it because he has more power over you and could damage your career and your ability to make a living.

      And what is even more terrible? That this happens at your place of work and your employers or colleagues don’t do anything about it. Maybe, if you are lucky, they just warn you to never be alone with that guy because everyone knows he is a pig.

      And you know what is even more terrible? That when you do find the courage to tell someone about such an uncomfortable personal experience, it turns out this was happening quite often to other women, and instead of all of you getting any sort of justice, what you get is called attention whores (even when you don’t want to be named publicly), you get accused of wanting to make money (even though you did not sell your story to the media), and you get accused of trying to destroy opera (even though opera is your life).

      Domingo was not condemned “without due process”. He is a free man. But those of us who believe the victims and the people who corroborated the accusations, we are also free to consider he is a pig and to celebrate that now the whole world knows it.

    • Thinking aloud says:

      Couldn’t agree more.

  • It is a shame that Domingo’ who is a multi-talented opera great suffer uncorroborated slander. No one in the history of opera and music has such incredibile talent and success. Philip Tropea tenor/author

  • Barry says:

    An entirely off-point impression: in the last Met Opera live broadcast of Tosca, Zelko Lucic as Scarpia grabbed the breast of Anna Netrebko so forcefully in duet that I wondered whether she had bruises: she didn’t flinch. Wasn’t Mario sung by VG?

  • Alice Boyd says:

    This is an aboslute disaster for the MET that already sucks for quite some time. Placido Domingo is a deity and how dare you! How dare you! And you think i do not have ties to all of this, think again. I have watched the ruination of the MET and Placido is not losing anything from you people. You pieces of wild crap. I hope the whole area falls in around your feet as your opera these past few decades have sucked to the point, I cannot even listen or watch it any longer.

    Alice Boyd, you stink and I know of whom and what I speak, given MY contacts there…………….idiots and no talents………………….