Zubin: My heart breaks for Placido’s pain

Zubin: My heart breaks for Placido’s pain


norman lebrecht

September 19, 2019

From an interview with Zubin Mehta in El Pais:


‘Mi corazón está roto por la situación que está padeciendo. Es un gran amigo y el mejor cantante de su tiempo. No hay nadie, ni Caruso, que haya logrado tantos éxitos.

‘Plácido me visitó en mi casa tres o cuatro veces durante mi convalecencia [por un cáncer] y he visto con alegría que ha cosechado un gran éxito en el Festival de Salzburgo… Volveré a trabajar con él esta temporada; cantará Germont padre en el montaje de La traviata que dirigiré en la Scala de Milán y lo espero con enorme ilusión. Confío en que pueda seguir su carrera con el éxito que merece’.

‘My heart is broken by the situation he is suffering. He is a great friend and the best singer of his time. No one, not even Caruso, has achieved so many successes.

‘Placido visited me at my home three or four times during my convalescence [from cancer]. I saw with joy his great success at the Salzburg Festival. I look forward with great enthusiasm to returning to work with him this season in La Traviata at La Scala where he will sing the elder Germont. I hope he will continue his career with the success he deserves, because he is still young.’


  • Gustavo says:

    Mehta vs Metoo

  • John Borstlap says:

    ‘Successful people should be protected against ethics and civilisational values.’

    • Patrick says:

      Or may against people who are inventing stories to make money or glory for themselves.

      • Desmond says:

        Dear Patrick, please explain how inventing stories of sexual harassment makes money or glory for anyone. The only way I can imagine anyone making money from this would be if they tried to extort money from PD to stay quiet. How could those who have already come forward make money off of this?

        How could true or false accusations bring glory to anyone? Do you not see the large percentage of comments from people who agree with you and disparage the accusers? Where’s the glory in being attacked by people who know nothing? Does the glory come from surviving the public stoning?

        • David Hilton says:

          See Hill, Anita, tenured professor, Brandeis University, who can, since 1991, command any speaking fee she wishes to demand.

          • Sonam says:

            That’s the best you can do? Your one example is Anita Hill, who is infinitely more intelligent and articulate than Clarence Thomas. Oh, and how did he fare? That’s right, he gets to be on the Supreme Court for life.

          • david hilton says:

            The commentator asked for one example; I provided one. There was no need to provide more. The great majority of people who heard the 11th-hour testimony of Anita Hill explaining why she changed from supporting Justice Thomas for the nation’s second highest court to opposing him one year later for the Supreme Court believed Thomas, not Hill. All contemporaneous polls agreed on this. So if you concede that Anita Hill did not testify truthfully — as most observers concluded — then she provides an excellent example of someone who “made money and/or glory” for “inventing stories of sexual harassment.” It is a long way to ascend from being a low-level faculty member at the Oral Roberts school of law in nowhere Oklahoma, to being the holder of a tenured chair in law at Brandeis University in the heart of Boston, especially when this is accomplished in the absence of the usual scholarly writing or other academic achievement. For better or worse, Anita Hill’s career has been entirely based on the celebrity derived from her famous testimony.

        • Karl says:

          People have many reasons for lying – professional jealously, personal jealously, revenge, attention seeking, regret, false memories, or pathological lying. I think most of these cases are false memories brought on by mass hysteria. It is well known that women are far more prone to mass hysteria than men.
          See Robert E Bartholomew’s book “Little Green Men, Meowing Nuns and Head-Hunting Panics: A Study of Mass Psychogenic Illness and Social Delusion”

          But sometimes it’s because people can be total a-holes. It’s a myth that women are the fairer sex IMO. Check this case I found:

          “Mean Girls face lawsuit over false sex allegations against teen'”
          The girls—dubbed “mean girls” in the lawsuit, a reference to the 2004 Lindsay Lohan film—admitted on tape that they made up the assault story. One said, “I just don’t like him” and “[I] would do anything to get him expelled,”

          • Marshall says:

            The world according to Karl: “I think most of these cases are false memories brought on by mass hysteria. It is well known that women are far more prone to mass hysteria than men…It’s a myth that women are the fairer sex.” Wow. Two uses of the word “hysteria” in one post. This, from the guy who insists he’s not a misogynist.

          • Karl says:

            It’s not misogyny, it’s scientific observation. Check the science on mass hysteria. It’s clear and convincing. And I really don’t understand your animosity. I’m being generous here. I’m not accusing the women of being liars, just mentally disturbed.

            Here’s more food for thought:
            A new Center for Prosecutor Integrity report by behavioral neuroscientists claims that ‘trauma informed ‘ methods for interviewing alleged victims increases the possibility of creating false memories. See “: A Review of ‘Understanding the Neurobiology of Trauma and Implications for Interviewing Victims:’
            Are We Trading One Prejudice for Another?” by Sujeeta Bhatt and Susan E. Brandon

        • Claudio says:

          Waiting for Patrick’s reply. I would really want to see a list of victims of sexual abuse that gained the least amount of money or glory because of coming forward. If anything, they probably got to see their lives and reputations destroyed by the usual online army of rape apologists.

        • Sue Sonata Form says:

          The very fact there IS a public stoning because somebody famous flirted with women and/or put the hard word on them. (Who’d have thought??) This puritanism and repression would have its rightful place in the middle east or soviet Russia. This is the growing menace of PC culture, repression and reputational destruction way out of all proportion to any ‘crime’.

        • Leddy says:

          Desmond, please explain how someone with such a small brain as yours can even comment.

  • sam says:

    How’s his heart regarding the victims?

    • Patrick says:

      Victims? Has anything been proven in a court?

      • Anson says:

        One can be a victim without the perpetrator ever facing justice at all, much less having charges successfully proven in court. An ultimate criminal conviction is not what makes a victim, the original criminal act is.

      • Nick2 says:

        In an earlier PD thread I have written in considerable detail about the experience of one victim, an experience also witnessed by two of the UK’s most senior arts managers. I have also referred without detail about two others, both witnessed by me. They were all victims. A court is not necessary.

        • M2N2K says:

          A court may not be necessary to form your opinion – you are entitled to it – but an opinion is not a fact.

          • Nick2 says:

            So when I personally witness an act by a famous man against a young woman that is insulting and sexually degrading and am prepared to go to any court of law to testify with all the details, you consider that an opinion? Of course it is not an opinion. It is a provable fact, the more so given that it was witnessed, as I have stated before, by two of the most senior arts administrators in the United Kingdom!

            You consider that an “opinion”?

          • M2N2K says:

            Yes, I do certainly consider it an opinion – because “insulting” and “sexually degrading” may be defined differently by different people, and also because the same incident can be viewed differently by different people (regardless of how “senior” they are).

          • Saxon Broken says:

            Nick: but your comments have not been tested in the court, so to the rest of us they currently only amount to hearsay.

            Of course, the fact that they are “hearsay” this does not mean your comments must be untrue.

        • Sue Sonata Form says:

          Yes, that’s right; away with those pesky courts of law!! (Dear me, where have I heard that before?)

    • Karl says:

      Unless some solid proof of wrongdoing is revealed I am counting Domingo as the victim.

  • Caravaggio says:

    “Plácido nunca intentó hecharme ojo o tocarme indebidamente. O rechazarme por mi frialdad. Quizá no soy su tipo o suficientemente sexy para él. Lo adoro de todas maneras. Lo que quiero decir es que si no me sucedió a mi entonces no le sucedió a nadie.”

    • V.Lind says:

      Who said this rubbish? I can’t seem to get into the El Pais website for some reason. But really: Lo que quiero decir es que si no me sucedió a mi entonces no le sucedió a nadie.” Give me a break.

  • Antonio says:

    One dinosaur patting another dinosaur on the back. That’s all this is.
    Zero compassion or interest for Domingo’s victims. Zero concern for the fact that the AP has on file interviews with “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.”
    That’s three dozen people who corroborated the accusations against Domingo. But his apologists still think this is a conspiracy and a take-down led by the AP and “the Americans”. This would almost be silly if not for the pain who were sexually harassed and assaulted.

    • Adrian says:

      “One dinosaur patting another dinosaur on the back.”


      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        (Oh, “making the beast with two backs”!!!)

        Take care with an ideology or society which guarantees protection in the workplace and life. People have to develop life skills and handle the fact that there are predators out there and it is not the job of the state to protect the people from it; not unless they’re going to swap that menace with a few other different kinds of horror.

        • Saxon Broken says:

          I agree. The state shouldn’t intervene against murderers either. After all, they exist and the rest of us just have to look out and not get murdered.

    • Karl says:

      That’s the problem – just asking a woman out now is considered sexual harassment. It wasn’t back then. Just grow up.

      • Ms.Melody says:

        “So he decreed in words succinct
        That all who flirted, leered or winked
        (Unless connubially linked)
        Should forthwith be beheaded
        Beheaded, beheaded”
        G&S The Mikado

        • RW2013 says:

          Gern hab ich die Frau’n geküßt
          hab nie gefragt
          ob es gestattet ist
          Dachte mir
          nimm sie dir
          Küss sie nur
          dazu sind sie ja hier.
          (Lehár, Paganini)

      • Antonio says:

        Have you read the allegations in the AP stories? Domingo is not accused of asking anybody out. From the first story: “One accuser said Domingo stuck his hand down her skirt and three others said he forced wet kisses on their lips”. If you think this is how a decent man asks a woman out, I pity any woman that ever comes near you. Instead of telling people to grow up, maybe you should try growing some decency.

        • Karl says:

          He IS accused of sexual harassment by some women just for asking them out. Patricia Wulf said he asked her if she had to go home. Some told the AP that suggestive overtures by Domingo made them uncomfortable, including one singer who said he repeatedly asked her out on dates after hiring her to sing a series of concerts with him in the 1990s. As the ball keeps rolling more and more claims – many probably fantastic false stories – are likely to emerge. I would not surprised if Domingo gets accused of holding satanic rituals while dressed as a clown at this point.

          The decent thing to do is presume people innocent until proven guilty.

      • sycorax says:

        I don’t think that someone would see “just asking a woman out” as harassment – as long as the person asking accepts gracefully and without any insulting comments that the woman asked isn’t interested.
        But that’s the problem with some guys. They can’t deal with a woman’s “no”, even if it’s politely expressed.
        My favourite “reaction” came a few years ago in form of a 56 k long mail in which a guy explained to me why I should have felt “honoured” by him asking me out and why I wouldn’t get another offer.

        • Esther Cavett says:

          you should have taken him up dear

        • Karl says:

          At my workplace sexual harassment training they were explicit in saying that just touching a woman on the shoulder is sexual harassment now. Then a few weeks later a woman at work touched me on the shoulder and I told her that was sexual harassment. She laughed. So did I. But it’s not really funny because these things can balloon into false memories and allegations over time when memories get distorted.

          • John Borstlap says:

            Last month I did a sexual harrassment training and found it utterly unpleasant. What you have to go through to become aware of what harrassment is! The whole repertoire! I had to quit because I couldn’t stand it any longer, had enough harrassment for a whole life.


          • John Borstlap says:


            I hear now from my boss that I may have gone to the wrong department, I was already rather surprised that I was the only woman there. It must have been the men who were doing the harrassment training.


          • Saxon Broken says:

            Actually “touching on the shoulder” can be sexual harassment, and it can also be assault. But it depends on who the person touched feels about it. However, the courts would be very unlikely to punish you unless there were other factors involved.

    • SMH says:

      “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”

      Are not these people to a degree complicit? Was there NO ONE they could report this behavior to? Orchestra members in the US have union protection, as does wardrobe, wigs, stage crew etc. What responsibility did these people have to those being harassed? It’s not enough to come out of the woodwork now and say, “Yeah, we knew this was going on all those years. I witnessed it.”

      • Karl says:

        Because at the time it was just considered flirtatious behavior. Just like wearing blackface was a joke or a legitimate way to play a character of different ethnicity. Now PC culture has run amok and we are living in a culture where people are getting power by claiming victimhood, even if it’s just from ‘microaggressions.’

        • Kay Langford says:

          Racism and misogyny don’t exist if they don’t victimize you.
          Sexual harassment, sexual assault doesn’t matter because it can’t happen to you.

          In fact all of those things are just a joke if they never affect you.

        • Saxon Broken says:

          Er…we always knew the difference between flirtatious behaviour and harassment. Sticking your hand up someone’s skirt really isn’t “being flirtatious”.

  • Ms.Melody says:

    Here is another take: a great conductor is supporting a great singer and a long time friend. Isn’t this what friends are supposed to do? And, with the wisdom of maturity, he is awaiting results of the investigations before he casts his personal stone.

    • V.Lind says:

      In publicly referring to Domingo’s “pain,” he has cast his personal stone. If he just did what friends are supposed to do he would stay out of it in public; what he says to him in private is their business.

      Nobody in their right mind is denying Domingo’s greatness as an artist. But the reason so few of his many friends have gone public is because there IS a case to be answered here and probably the LA investigation will provide sufficient cover for them.

      When Jian Ghomeshi came under the gun, a lot of his friends — and many really had been friends — dropped him very publicly, in droves. I know a few who knew him, and well believed the charges against him, but who privately offered him help if he needed it. That strikes me as more appropriate.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      “Investigations” over historic claims? Doesn’t this send an absolute chill down your spines and if not, why not?

  • Xavier says:

    Old dinosaurs? Rather two old etalons rubbing their withers on their way to the glue factory

  • Cantantelirico says:

    Don’t cheapen yourself or your legacy by putting your two cents in Zubie. We can all have a yard sale from our burgeoning hall closets.

  • Enquiring Mind says:

    Mehta makes a good point. Domingo is likely suffering a great deal; most likely blindsiding by these anonymous claims and thinking “wtf”?

  • Cordula says:

    My heart is broken because of the unimportance of this message.
    Who cares.

  • XAVIER says:

    Mister Mehta is calling PD the most successful (and best) tenor, even better than Carusso.
    He chose to ignore an inconvenient truth: as were Carlos Kleiber and the other conductors, so vas Pavarotti and the remainder of the second half of 20th century tenors.