Exclusive: Last shot of Placido Domingo at the Met

Exclusive: Last shot of Placido Domingo at the Met


norman lebrecht

September 25, 2019

This was the dress rehearsal at the Met for Verdi’s Macbeth, the one we will never see, with Anna Netrebko and the soon-to-be ousted Placido Domingo.

Operalover Sophia Cerovsek took this picture, which we present as one of the great might-have-beens.

Sophia tells us: ‘This photo will remain for me a very special memory and how it came about is kind of strange: I received a last minute ticket gift for the “Macbeth” dress rehearsal by my dear friend Richard Reissig, who came with our mutual friend Karen D’Angelo. Trish Cowart Krulin was also part of our group as we settled into our 8th row seats, just a few rows behind Placido’s family.

‘An announcement was made not to use flash, which I interpreted as taking photos without a flash would be permitted. But I knew they wouldn’t turn out well since it was so dark, nevertheless I took a few. At one point I changed inadvertently settings on the camera by turning a tiny wheel (in the dark), but have no recollection which setting I ended up using. After I down loaded the photos I found most of the dozen or so rather grainy and fuzzy, but then: there was this one: just perfect.’

So it is.

(c) Sophia Cerovsek

And here’s the final curtain call:


  • Staatsoper says:

    Netrebko and Domingo sang Macbeth in Berlin last year… with a far superior orchestra and conductor ( Barenboim, Staatskapelle Berlin) than the Met offered… and also a fantastic new production by Kupfer… it wasn’t a “might have been”… for many of us, it was.

    • altofortuna says:

      thank you Staatsoper for your comment- I was playing both Macbeth cycles (the one last year with Netrebko/Domingo and the one this year whith Domingo singing the title role again)- it was really GREAT and we were lucky to have them both performing .
      I personally cannot understand how on earth the US media and institutions all go crazy for #metoo in the case of PD- he was never proven guilty of any crime infront of any court – they simply break existing contracts by putting him out (San Francisco, Dallas)- and they forced him to step down of a running production (Macbeth @MET opera)- quite shocking!! all because of mainly anonymous accusations- most of them happening around 30 years back… prejudging of the worst kind.
      In any case we look forward here in Berlin to his upcoming presentation as Germont next January.

      • Steffi says:

        Thank you for your comment, altofortuna, right, I saw all 6 Macbeth in these 2 years – and will come for both Traviata. Bravo to you and all your colleagues!

      • BrianB says:

        Insidious cancel culture, twitter-driven in the U.S. Basically, Europe is more grown up and adult than America (that includes Canada) and I say that as an American. It goes back to Salem witch hysteria at least.

    • Steffi says:

      Absolut true – I was in Berlin for all 3 performances – it was fantastic beyond words!

  • Anton Bruckner says:

    As a supporter of the me too movement I believe that the public lynching of PD is utterly hypocritical and sekf defeating to the movement. He may have been a womanizer and this is no longer appropriate. But one cannot retrospectively apply new codes of conduct to behavior which is not morally flawed per se (unlike rape, violence, etc.). It is a disgrace that such a great artist is trashed and humiliated.

    And on a personal note: PD was lead singer at the Tel Aviv opera in the early 60’s which I believe was then led by Edis de Phillipe. He was poorly paid and based on family history used to get newspapers for free from at my grandfather’s kiosk on Allenby street which was one of the only places at the time where one could get intrrnational newspapers in Tel Aviv. Almost 60 years have passed but the good spirit of PD still lingers on.

    • Nick says:

      I am NOT a supporter of the “MeToo” movement as it, like everything else ‘owned’ by the left-wing gang, turns to its opposite! But I applaud your comment.
      It is a disgrace and peak of hypocrisy on the part of the MET to trash and artist like Placido Domingo or James Levine. And END of an era!

      • sycorax says:

        So if you’re a famous musician it’s okay if you harass children and women?
        Interesting idea. And what would you have said if Levine would have groped your son and Domingo would have harassed your daughter?

    • Robin Worth says:

      You are entirely correct

      Anyone who knew London and New York in the 60s and 70s would have known a time ,post liberation, when attitudes became liberal, often extremely liberal (remember the groupies?) The world of entertainment has never been noted for its chastity and you can deplore the mantra “some will, some won’t, so what” but it was characteristic of that heady era 50 or so years ago. And not just for the men.

      I have no knowledge of the PD issues, but I do know that it is unreasonable to judge anyone today for standards of behaviour which were not thought unacceptable, let alone criminal, at the time. Immoral perhaps, but if you lived in Barcelona, as I did, in the 1970s it would have been thought odd not to go along with the lifestyle of cities far away from repressive Spain .

      Has anyone alleged anything that happened this century?

    • Monsoon says:

      The fact that you equate what has happened to PD as a lynching — an extrajudicial killing by a mob, which in the United States was part of a campaign of racial terror that resulted in the murder of more than 4,000 African Americans — pretty much says it all.

      Choose your words more carefully.

      And stop pretending that the allegations are merely “womanizing,” whatever that means.

      Accusers have alleged that PD stuck his hand down skirts and forcefully kissed them.

      The fact that this behavior wasn’t punished in the past is a failing of our previous leaders, and PD got a free pass for decades. If he wants to continue to perform, then yeah, he’s going to be called to account for his past conduct.

  • Olga says:

    Many thanks to Sophia for this photo and video. I admired Placido Domingo and will always admire him as a great artist. Hope that he will continue to work with European opera theaters and also do a lot of tremendous work at Operalia competition for discovering talented young singers.

    • Ms.Melody says:

      Operalia competition is probably finished.
      What young, aspiring opera singer would want to put on his/her resume that they were a winner at a competition organised by a disgraced, dismissed,
      ruined singer accused of sexual harassment and in some instances behavior bordering on assault.Never mind the burden of proof, the stain can never be washed off.
      Maybe in Europe, but I can’t see anybody from North America wanting to enter. It is too bad. Operalia has launched a number of careers.

  • Edgar says:

    Finire cosi…

  • mama says:

    lucky you to have seen Domingo for the last time on Met’s stage.

  • Ms.Melody says:

    Regardless of how you feel about him, this is a piece of history.
    Thank you for sharing

  • V.Lind says:

    If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well
    It were done quickly: if the assassination
    Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
    With his surcease success; that but this blow
    Might be the be-all and the end-all here,
    But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
    We’ld jump the life to come. But in these cases
    We still have judgment here; that we but teach
    Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
    To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice
    Commends the ingredients of our poison’d chalice
    To our own lips.

    • Ms.Melody says:

      How very timely and poignant.Thank you for posting.
      This is indeed a sad time for the arts, for music.
      There is a void where once greateness lived.
      Healing if it ever comes will take a while.

  • @Maugia says:

    What sadness !! We cheer Placido. El Mundo loves you … Hugs from Spain (Seville).

  • GlazunovFan says:

    Could not wait for the LA Opera investigation…the senator had to crudely make his point to threaten the MET organization if Domingo was not forced out immediately….sad ending for a case still not tried….his MacBeth…just his presence opening night would have been legendary…now we’ll never know…thanks for the pic & curtain call from dress rehearsal….Europe awaits!!

    • Saxon Broken says:

      The Met is a private organisation. The senator’s remarks really could not damage the Met who could have just ignored them.

  • Esther Cavett says:

    ==We present as one of the great might-have-beens.

    Am getting mixed messages here.

    I thought we’d all agreed that PD was way, way past his prime. Why suddenly the nostalgia and regret ?

    It’s not a “might have been” more a “thanks goodness it never was”. him croaking and blustering away

    • Bruce says:

      There is an idea, unspoken but apparent when it happens, that being persecuted (or what you/your supporters perceive as persecution) automatically makes you Christlike. There are many, many musical and political scandals where this is clear to see.

      Without this scandal, NL and many others might well have been on the “Domingo needs to retire” bandwagon; but now he’s [still] one of the greatest living singers as well as being the most considerate colleague and the perfect gentleman.

    • Ms.Melody says:

      On April 16,2016 I happened to be in New York for a meeting. Simone Boccanegra was playing at the Met and there was no other show that would interest me enough, so I bought a family circle ticket
      and went to see it with a major bias and a case of pursed lips. After all, Domingo was singing the title role and we all agree he is not a Verdi baritone.
      The as yet un-disgraced Levine was conducting.
      I was fully prepared to hate it and leave in the intermission. Was I wrong! From the moment Domingo came on stage, he was phenomenal.
      His singing was excellent, his acting was committed and utterly convincing, his presence dignified. I came in a cynic and left an admirer. During the death scene there were grown men wiping tears.
      Come to think of it, this was the last truly memorable performance at the Met for me, and I used to go 3-4 times a year. I have not heard him in Macbeth and in Luisa Miller and Traviata he was not very good, but the man is a great artist and one just has to live with it.
      So, I do think his dismissal was sad and shameful. He still has a lot to give to the art form.

  • Nick says:

    The end of the MET as an artistic institution. A great orchestra in the times of great Maestro James Levine, the orchestra sounds like a school band and the soloists are now selected by identity politics, and their belonging to the pathetic “MeToo” left-wing movement, not by talent and ability. The END OF MET!

  • Rosemary Forbes-Butler says:

    ==It’s not a “might have been” more a “thanks goodness it never was”, him croaking and blustering away

    LOL. It’s a truly awful sound he makes these days

  • Vin says:

    Tragedy, just a Tragedy,
    I really don’t care if Domingo grabbed a few, or took a few lips by storm. Anyways, for many a women, it borders on fantasy to be the subject of attention from one so handsome and famous.

    Just Let the man sing dammit!