Placido Domingo ‘not involved’ at LA Opera

Placido Domingo ‘not involved’ at LA Opera


norman lebrecht

September 15, 2019

The LA Times quotes company sources saying that Domingo, the general director, is not involved in day-to-day management of the company while the investigation is open’ into allegations of sexual misconduct.

Domingo will be absent for the season-opening Bohème. ‘We are thrilled with and proud of the work that more than 350 of our tireless and talented staffers, artistic corps and guest artists have been doing behind the scenes for months,’ L.A. Opera’s president and chief executive, Christopher Koelsch, said via email to The Times. ‘Their sensational ‘La Bohème’ is a bold, and emotionally affecting take on the classic — and one that I have every hope will resonate strongly with today’s audiences.’



  • V.Lind says:

    While I can believe that he does little of the grunt work, this has a whiff of “the whitewash begins.” At least in terms of any culpability on the part of the company.

    Gutless wonders.

    • Emil says:

      Indeed – lots of energy spent on the perpetrators themselves, not on the system that props them up, enables them, and allows them to remain in power. I’m interested in reading the Kantor and Twohey book (She Said) and Farrow’s Catch and Kill for these reasons – they seem to address the enabling system.
      Someone knew at LA Opera and elsewhere. For sure. Or someone deliberately turned a blind eye.

    • Enquiring Mind says:

      So they are “damned if they do and damned if they don’t”? If, God forbid, you are one day accused of something, I can only hope your fate is in the hands of those more fair than yourself.

      • Gina says:

        What do you mean? Who is “they” in “they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t?” Does Domingo represent all men? The only bit I understood from your comment is that you’re very frightened about the prospect of false accusations being brought against you. It’s weird.

        • Enquiring Mind says:

          I you read the message I responded to, it will all make sense. LA Opera is “they” and “you” is V. Lind.

        • M2N2K says:

          What seems truly “weird” to me is that someone might consider it “weird” to be afraid of being falsely accused. These days such fear is in fact perfectly understandable.

      • V.Lind says:

        My comment is on perception, not result, as the latter has yet to be provided. But there is a distancing going on, from the tenor of the leaked information.

    • legal emigrant says:

      True liberal values always included “presumption of innocence”
      All socialists (including ‘national socialists’) jailed people based on anonymous accusations. Is that where you want us go ?
      Do accusers always tell the truth and have no hidden (material gain) agenda ?
      Be careful in your search for ‘enemies of the people’. In the next round you might be tagged to be the hunted. Learn the history to avoid trouble

    • Cantantelirico says:

      Culpability on the part of the company?

  • sam says:

    Yeah, like saying Trump is not involved in the day-to-day management of the White House, but look at the damage he’s done to the office.

  • M.Arnold says:

    As is fairly well known, Enrico Caruso was fined $5 for pinching a lady’s derriere in the Central Park Zoo (most likely not the first or only time he did something like this).What more should’ve been done to him?

  • Kimberly says:

    Nice to know that a person is ‘ guilty until proven innocent ‘ and not allowed to do their job because there have to be investigations into allegations by ‘anonymous’ individuals that would never hold up in an actual court of law. Way to the lead the world in matters of ‘justice’ USA! May God be with the real victims, the entire Domingo family!

    • IdiotsAreDangerroua says:

      Sadly and horrifically it is not only Domingo family. If this will continue and idiots supporting this win, we all including idiots will be in slave labor camps and with all our military might that would be new globalists socialistic order

    • Alora says:

      Can you not detach emotions and reality? A long way to go.

    • V.Lind says:

      Rubbish. Policemen, teachers, all sorts of people with some authority over others are suspended from duty while charges against them are being investigated.

      A lot of famous people have been accused of sexual misconduct of one kind or another in recent years. While some have made the specious “nothing criminal” argument, and others deny any notion of sexual harassment and blame the accusers, there has been nothing like the rush to defend an accused like there is for Domingo.

      This is a singer who is routinely abused in these pages for his recent conduct of his career. A lot of the commentary is most ungenerous and almost implies that he was never all that good in the first place (a calumny).

      But even those detractors know that 1) he WAS that good and 2) he WAS and IS “that big a star.” It is hard not to think that there is some feeling in the air that a big star is immune to criticism for his conduct, that he “wouldn’t have had to” (as if that had anything to do with this sort of behaviour), and that anyone who believes the MANY women who have been cited in one way or another are in some way cashing in or trying to take a good man down. This has even been extended to the motivations of a venerated news organisation and a senior and very professional reporter, neither of whom probably ever gave Domingo a thought until some source came forward with these stories.

      But nobody is to be believed but the man himself, despite people not accusing directly but aware from personal observation what he was like saying that it was known throughout the industry that he was like THIS.

      Has nothing really changed for women?

      • david hilton says:

        Actually, I find it easy “not to think that there is some feeling in the air that a big star is immune to criticism for his conduct.” All of the recent scrutiny of Domingo and other significant public figures makes this plain. They have far too much to lose to risk hitting on, harrassing or abusing colleagues. Far from being “immune” to criticism, they are veritable lightning rods for it. So for me, the logical assumption is that the more famous the performer is as a public figure, the LESS likely it is that any sense of “immunity” from criticism exists. Instead they are bound to be far more cautious than others. A guy in the chorus can hit on the woman next to him without fearing for his career. Domingo cannot.

    • Liam Allan-Dalgleish says:

      Good! This has become so one sided, me-me2 nonsense—and it is nonsense because Justice, in part at least, depends on reason. Some objections: 1) as with the defeat of the ERA amendment, a small group is speaking for all. 2) if men spoke about women the way women, in open talk, talk about men, it would be an outrage. 3) no woman should be spoken of or otherwise treated disrespectfully; that having been said, there is more than one sexual attitude. Have a look at some of the things perfectly sane, happily married people describe themselves as doing on PornHub. Much more could be said but when a Spanish courtier of the class, and I might add talent and sense of humor, gets caught up in this, something is very wrong ( and yes, talent is a part of the discussion).

    • Laurence says:

      I agree that Mrs. Domingo, the continually betrayed wife, is a real victim here. Perhaps one day she’ll speak the truth, instead of just enduring it.

      • Lynne says:

        No, the victims are the victims here. This isn’t about marriage infinitely. This is about harassment, coercion, abuse and assault.

  • Dr. Shirley Rombough says:

    I don’t understand why anonymous sources are allowed to ruin a major artist’s career while not being required to come forth openly to provide documentation of said behsviors. No one is safe from any accusations, whether true or otherwise.

    • Ramon Figueroa says:

      Domingo’s career is not being ruined by this scandal. He had a long and, by many standards, illustrious career. This will not changed that. His legacy might be somewhat tarnished, but any right thinking person can distinguish between the man and the artist and make a measured judgement. And unnamed is not anonymous.

      • lbr says:

        Anonymous = without any name acknowledged.

      • david hilton says:

        “Unnamed is not anonymous”, such an insight. OK, to paraphrase Dr. Rombough above “I don’t understand why unnamed sources are allowed to ruin a major artist’s career while not being required to come forth openly to provide documentation of said behaviour.” Is that better? Her point was just as valid without your correction.

    • monsoon says:

      There is clearly a lack of understanding about what an anonymous source is and how information provided by sources are vetted.

      Whether or not a source is anonymous, whatever information they provide has to be corroborated. It’s not like someone left a VM on the AP’s mailbox claiming that Domingo groped them and the AP printed the allegation without any vetting.

      As they AP notes, they corroborated the allegations by speaking 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.”

      If that’s not good enough for you, then I don’t see what would really change by knowing the names of the accusers.

      The complaints being made here about anonymous sources are no different than what the Nixon administration said about Deepthroat. Do you think the “Washington Post” was wrong to use information provided by Mark Felt because he wouldn’t allow his name to be printed?

      Finally, Domingo hasn’t really denied the allegations. He said:

      “I recognize that the rules and standards by which we are — and should be — measured against today are very different than they were in the past.”

      For god’s sake, people, he’s basically saying that he did it, but he shouldn’t be blamed because standards of workplace conduct have changed.

    • Alora says:

      Foggy heads never can see things clearly. Even call yourself a Dr? Laughable!

    • Anonymous says:

      They. Are. Not. Anonymous.

      They may be unnamed to the public, but you can be sure that they are not anonymous.

      • david hilton says:

        Just because someone doesn’t satisfy by the would-be editors on this blog by referring to “UNNAMED” accusers rather than “ANONYMOUS” their point is just as valid. And it is no refutation of what they say to offer this lame attempt at clarification. It makes no difference to those of us who believe in a higher sense of justice whether someone’s career is ruined anonymously, or whether it is ruined through unnamed career assassins.

    • Laurence says:

      What kind of “documentation” of these “behsviors” do you expect to be available? Someone forcibly kisses you as you enter your hotel room, and you expect a signed affidavit? Shirley, you jest. I suspect, however, that you yourself are safe, so please relax.

    • bari says:

      This is so true. Accusations can be made very easily. There needs to be a credible investigation in each case. Of course what you’ve got here is trial by media. The media can do a lot of good in exposing systemic or personal abuses, but its not that difficult for some (usually) tabloids to be the casual accusers. In the UK, employment law, with its low threshold of the ‘balance of probability’, is so pathetically inadequate that it is open to abuse from incompetent or bias employers. By the time a case gets to an employment tribunal, and even if they win, its usually too late for the employee. A persons job and career have gone. There’s hardly anyone qualified to comment authoritatively on the PD case. I comment on what would be good practice……..

    • Gustavo says:

      And I don’t understand why major artists can deny any accusations while not being required to come forth openly to provide empirical evidence, e.g. body-cam footage showing that Placido or Daniel came nowhere near the accusers.

  • David Hilton says:

    “Domingo will be absent for the season-opening Bohème.” Such a relief! And good to know. But why stop here? Surely, there is a need for an ‘all points bulletin’ alerting music lovers as to any other season opening performances Mr Domingo will not be at, so that we can all know where the remaining safe spaces are.

  • Olassus says:

    Never have a tenor and baritone sung together more beautifully than Plácido Domingo and Thomas Hampson lying on their backs for O Mimì tu più non torni for L.A. Opera in 1987, and now this same company, forgetting all that and much more the tenor did to get the company launched after 1984, and praised over the years, can only trumpet his lack of presence for the Puccini 32 years later. Vergogna!

    And they’re dumping Herbert Ross’s perfect staging — the company’s own — at the same time, and trading it for trash. What is the Board thinking?

    • Yes Addison says:

      That a theater changes productions over time, and doesn’t exist solely to give you your nostalgia fix.

      • Olassus says:

        It is not nostagia that Domingo, with Hemmings, put the company on the map.

        The ingratitude reflects badly on current management, as does the switch to a new Bohème when there are still so many operas L.A. Opera has never staged.

        Some of the greatest companies in the world retain their best stagings for 40 years or more, and people go for the singing in fact.

        • Yes Addison says:

          Yet you haven’t written a word about the quality of the singing, so there must be other components of opera you notice and consider worth talking about.

          You might get someone else to agree it’s a terrible thing that a production was replaced after “only” 26 years and seven revivals, but it’s not an argument to which I’m receptive.

  • Alora says:

    “Because of you I could sing better”, that’s what Domingo said to a singer in bed at hotel. More than 30 years I have been his fan. But when heard his crazy sexual abuse on the female singers, including married women, turned me off all! He did not give a damn to his victims, because he IS the only one on the top. How could the victims get over even right before performances? Was it welcomed? Wrong! His arrogance and insensitivity to others painted his voice and performances nastily. Show him what justice and decency look like!

    • david hilton says:

      Wow. Not only do you claim to know what was said in bed years ago by people you presumably do not know, you even know the position they used! How do you know “he was the only one on the top”?!

  • Juan says:

    Guilty till proven innocent.

  • Liam Allan-Dalgleish says:

    This is nuts. And this mi chiama MeMeToo non-sense is a disgrace to common sense and a very Un-Common sense of Justice

  • James Domine says:

    Placido Domingo is one of a kind. There has never been nor is there likely to ever be again an artist who could rival the impact he has had on opera.

    • Yes Addison says:

      But it would seem that in some of his personal conduct, he was all too common. This is a fascinating human contradiction, but I think we have to separate the matters.

  • I feel sorry for Placido he could be the victim of “get the big guy’s brigade”.Thanks. Ronnie.

  • bari says:

    ‘… spaces…..’ What is it that you think you know about the PD case, that others are not privy to? Your comments are nothing more than gossip, unless you’ve got direct experience…..?

  • Lulu Talley says:

    This is all perfectly preposterous. If Mr. Domingo’s outsized sexual energy ever did represent a threat to the delicate sensibilities of female employees who were too proper to say yes but too concerned about their career progress to say no — which I doubt — he most certainly does not pose a threat to anyone now. The absurd avowals that he will be investigated because these whiter-than-snow companies have “zero-tolerance” policies in order to ensure the “safety” of their employees are self-serving, cynical and patently irrelevant. No one is in the least danger from this generous, committed artist, except the opera industry, which stands to lose tremendously and irreparably by driving out one of the most positive and tireless forces in the history of the art form.

  • Bruce says:

    People seem not to have read all of “…not involved in day-to-day management of the company while the investigation is open into allegations of sexual misconduct.”

    Sounds like the equivalent of a police officer being put on desk duty during an investigation of possible misconduct.

  • Jose says:

    Forgive and count ur
    Blessings Jose basha

  • Luisa Miller says:

    LA Opera, it’s a shame the way you treat Placido Domingo. You are not the police and not the judges, you participate in the “witch hunt” of the media without any evidence and that is shameful considering what Placido Domingo has done for her house. Your double standards suck…you tolerate a president like Trump in the White House, who is not involved in daily business…laughably…just lying!!!

    • Laurence says:

      It is true that the LA opera is not the police and the judges, but this is irrelevant, since they are not seeking to handcuff or imprison Domingo. They are an opera company, and entitled to set standards of behavior. And to suggest that they “tolerate a president like Trump” is simply absurd. What’s a poor opera company to do? Impeach him? California went for Hillary, so I doubt LA opera is packed with Trump supporters.

    • V.Lind says:

      Don’t be absurd. Their employee has been accused of workplace offences, by other employees. Of course they have to investigate (or be seen to).

      And I am no fan of Trump, but that reference seems idiotic and irrelevant.