Breaking: Domingo steps down at LA Opera

Breaking: Domingo steps down at LA Opera


norman lebrecht

October 02, 2019

Placido Domingo has resigned as general director of the company that he co-founded and which he has led for 16 years.

His statement:

I hold Los Angeles Opera very dearly to my heart and count my work to create and build it as among my most important legacies. However, recent accusations that have been made against me in the press have created an atmosphere in which my ability to serve this company that I so love has been compromised. While I will continue to work to clear my name, I have decided that it is in the best interests of L.A. Opera for me to resign as its general director and withdraw from my future scheduled performances at this time.’

Aside from his leadership of the company, Domingo has sung 300 times in 31 roles.

Domingo, 78, was brought down by allegations from 19 women, all but two of them anonymous, that he pestered them in times past with unwanted sexual attentions. He denied any wrongdoing and challenged the factual basis of some of the claims against him.

LA Opera asked a law firm to investigate. It said tonight that, despite Domingo’s resignation, the investigation would continue until it reached resolution.


Outside of the US, Domingo’s career is unaffected.



  • Alphonse says:

    The maniacal, brain-dead “Me-Too”ers are jumping with joy. A truly dark day.

    • Claudio says:

      Count me in as one of those “me-too”ers then, because I did jump with joy seeing that he’s out.

      This man has been a pig to women throughout his career. It is now, thanks to the #MeToo movement that some feel brave enough to speak up, but for decades women who worked with him were warned to never be alone with him. This is not made up. This is not a conspiracy. This is something that a lot of people who work in opera have known for a while.

      The misogynists and abuse apologists keep saying that Domingo should be considered innocent until proven guilty, but the thing is this was never a criminal case. The presumption of innocence applies only in court, and this case never went to court.

      We’ve seen this before with sex pests who manage to keep their behaviour just under the threshold of criminality. Their cases don’t go to court, the victims don’t get justice and the abusers don’t go to prison. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t sexually harass women and touch them inappropriately.

      At least now everybody knows Domingo is a pig and he has left LA Opera via the back door. ¡Adiós, Plácido, no vuelvas nunca!

      • Callas21 says:

        I am a woman and I have worked with Domingo, so have countless others who speak up for him in facebook.
        Have you?

        • Claudio says:

          The fact that you are a woman defending Domingo does not impress me. I remember all the women who spoke out for Bill Cosby, Larry Nassar and Roman Polanski. You must be smart enough to understand that if Domingo did not harass or touch you inappropriately that does not mean that he didn’t do it to other women.

          • Callas21 says:

            That was not my question. I asked if you knew him personally. But from your posts I can tell that not. Interesting that all posts that come up in defense are marked instantly as „irrelevant“ by some people. What is irrelevant is the fact that you hate Domingo and I am sure you hated him already the accusations.

          • dpubke-sharp says:

            Try learning English??? It might come in handy when you and your fellow MeToo gang launch your next series of baseless, anonymous, finger-pointing allegations.

          • Claudio says:

            What does it matter if I know Domingo personally or not? Are you actually suggesting that if I knew what a lovely person he is (with those he chooses to not harass) I would disregard the accusations of 20 women?

            I didn’t hate Domingo before the accusations were published. I think he has been a great tenor – though I don’t have a huge respect for him as a conductor or when he sings baritone parts.

            But I do despise any man that uses his power and his position to sexually harass or inappropriately touch women.

            And I absolutely detest misogynists and abuse apologists who immediately side with an accused just because he is a celebrity.

            And I do absolutely hate anyone who will have the indecency of discrediting a victim of sexual abuse just because they took whatever time they needed to report the abuse or because they chose to remain anonymous in the press.

          • MacroV says:

            Careful imputing motives to other people. Fine, you’ve worked with him, and are defending him. Which is your right, however he may have behaved with you.

            You don’t know that Claudio hates Domingo. I certainly don’t hate him, but if he behaved as many allege, it’s appropriate for it to be disclosed and that he be held to account for it.

          • Callas21 says:

            Last sentence should read „I am sure you already hated him before the accusations.“

          • Laurence says:

            We knew what you meant. You were wrong then and your correction still makes you wrong. Of course you are “sure”. The closed-minded usually are.

        • A. Nonymous says:

          Irrelevant. Just because he didn’t harass you means nothing.

      • dpubke-sharp says:

        I hope you are pleased with yourself??? Go ahead and jump up and down – since it’s all you and your countrymen are capable of.

      • Maria says:

        Of course, you know everything.
        Look at yourself first!

      • Paul Dawson says:

        Innocent until proven guilty is not confined to the courts. It is the mark of a civilised society.

        • Fallacy Ref says:

          However “innocent until proven guilty” is not the same as “ignore outright any evidence of wrongdoing and assume those claiming wrongdoing are necessarily guilty of fraud,” as many are doing here (not that you necessarily are – just the general gist of the commentary on this).

        • Saxon Broken says:

          Er…not exactly. Most employment contracts, at least in Europe, will have disciplinary processes to deal with allegations of misconduct. The internal hearing will act on the “balance of evidence”.

          In the case of the LA Opera and the Met, Domingo has chosen to resign and has not been summarily dismissed. In the case of the LA Opera, Domingo may have hoped that by resigning he could avoid an investigation into the allegations of misconduct.

      • sycorax says:

        Amen to that.

        I belong to the women who were once warned; I’ve got a good friend who as a young dancer in a big opera house needed an older, energetic dresser to get rid of him. I know that he was a pest and I think it was time to out him as such.
        Perhaps that’s the start of a real change in the misogynistic world of opera. Perhaps other pests will get now, that even being Mr Superstar doesn’t protect one from becoming accused of your wrong doings.

    • A. Nonymous says:

      Yeah this middle aged white male professional musician is 100% #metoo and yes I am pleased by this. No one is “jumping for joy” at serial harassers and rapists getting to retire rich at the end of their careers. But a small modicum of justice is better than none. Anyone who excuses this stuff is a dinosaur and an apologist for rape and misogyny. Or do you think 20 women just made up the same story about the guy out of what, spite? Because they’ll get rich? (Lol
      No) Because people like you will insult them?

      The reign of patriarchy and white privilege in classical music is finally changing. If it doesn’t, the only people who will still care about the music will be old white men who can’t understand why you don’t grab women or treat them like possessions.

    • Fallacy Ref says:

      #MeToo is all and only about spreading awareness of sexual harassment and misconduct and the scope of its pervasive nature both historically and presently.

      If you mean to state only that there are “maniacal, brain dead” individuals within the #MeToo movement (at least consult correct modern punctuation with regard to the movement you cite; what on earth is ‘“Me-Too”ers’), that’s one thing.

      If, however, you mean to state that all those who are in and of the #MeToo movement are “maniacal” and “brain-dead” – explain why you are so intensely against holding those individuals solely responsible for completely unacceptable actions (not even to include Mr. Domingo), up to and including rape, accountable.

      You have revealed whose perspective is “maniacal” and “brain-dead;” the dark day is indeed yours. Start using your frontal cortex and get out of the putrid banality displayed by your amygdala.

  • MacroV says:

    I think it’s right that Domingo resign because I don’t think he ever should have been leading an opera company. A great singer to be sure, but a mediocre conductor, and LA was dazzled by his star power when it should have sought a visionary executive who would be dedicated full-time to creation of an innovative and powerful institution. And that he led both DC and LA at the same time that he was still singing around the world is absurd; two institutions with way too much insecurity.

    That said, Domingo appears to have been engaged in inappropriate behavior, but pending results of further investigation it does not appear to have been an abuse of power on the order of Weinstein, Levine, or even Dutoit.

    • Oh, come on! Domingo was there for meetings in 1984 and 1985 during visits by the ROH and Deutsche Oper to lay plans, make commitments, establish credibility, and form the first board of the Los Angeles Music Center Opera Association. This was several years before Washington, and he has remained faithful and supportive ever since. Credit where credit is due!

      • LA and DC have about as many performances per year as a major European house would have in six weeks. Hence his ability to run two minor opera hours with tiny seasons.

      • M2N2K says:

        You are correct and so is MacroV.

      • MacroV says:

        No doubt. But LA should never have needed a Domingo to “establish credibility;” it needed a strong executive, someone who could hire good managers, form a good production team, develop a strong orchestra, etc.. With the resources potentially available in LA, they should never have needed a celebrity on whom to hang their credibility, for the few weeks a year he was available to them.

        • Los Angeles as you know gave the U.S. premiere of La Bohème. 87 years later it still had no opera company when Hemmings and Domingo came to town for the Olympic Arts Festival. Shoulda coulda woulda.

    • Nick2 says:

      A great singer, undoubtedly. A figurehead who galvanised the LA community behind an opera company, certainly. But he is not and never has been a manager or administrator. Although he was around, LA Opera took off largely because the Board had the sense to appoint a seasoned opera manager in Peter Hemmings as its General Director. Hemings work in helping Alexander Gibson build Scottish Opera from a one week season to a full year company must have been vital.

      Would Domingo have planned such an adventurous repertoire as during the Hemmings’ years? Unlikely!

      When Hemmings retired at the start of the century, Domingo should never have been made General Director, despite his ability to pull in the dollars and attract worldwide attention. But as readers of this blog know only too well, Boards are rarely qualified to choose their Artistic Directors and CEOs.

      • dpubke-sharp says:

        And apart from galvanising the company, pulling in the dollars, and atttacting worldwide attention, what ELSE should he have been doing? Painting the scenery and mopping up in the canteen?

        Another armchair ‘expert’ on opera whose only direct involvement has been eating the ice cream in the intermission.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Fundraising is so important in US institutions like the LA Opera that people are made General Director on their ability to impress donors rather than their ability to run the organisation. Domingo is just an example of this, and his vanity meant he accepted the position.

    • Mick the Knife says:

      Your opinion in groundless because the “insecurity” never showed only the rising visibility of both opera companies. In addition, a couple of small opera market’s audiences got to hear a singer they would not normally have access to.

    • dpubke-sharp says:

      Oh, we all remember the great conducting of Beverley Sills, dpn’t we????

  • Tiredofitall says:

    Disgusting. I can imagine there will be many changes to estate plans, deleting the LA Opera and the Met.

    • A. Nonymous says:

      Good. That’s the consequence of hiring and sheltering an abuser.

      • Tiredofitall says:

        Quite the opposite. These folks would be Domingo fans. Folks of that generation recognise hypocrisy.

        • Saxon Broken says:

          I guess you are saying that Domingo should be allowed to abuse the female staff since he has the ability to persuade donors to fund the organisation.

  • sam says:

    In the context of events this week, what a study in contrast between the regal Jessye Norman and the egomaniacal Placido Domingo, one going down in history in laurels the other in flames.

    • Brian says:

      Interesting point. Norman was known in the field for her share of bad behavior. Nothing of this nature, of course, but she was plenty demanding and difficult towards colleagues and helpers. We don’t hear much of that right now because, I suspect, the opera field is looking for a positive figure to latch onto at the moment.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      He will be remembered. Does anyone remember Caballe’s legal problems at the end of her life? Only her art.

    • Ramon Figueroa says:

      Domingo is not going down in history in flames, but he is going to have an asterisk next to his name. His legacy, however, is undeniable, even if I don’t find him as wonderful as other people do. But I have great respect for him as an artist. His sexual shenanigans seem to be part of that personality that refuses to give up the limelight, but that’s what made him achieve so much. He is, ultimately, human, although if what people say about his humanizing is only partially true, it’s truly tacky, and, as time went on, kind of sad. But again, only human.

      • Karl says:

        I think metoo will have the asterisk next to its name. Like McCarthy.

        • That Guy says:

          Yes. Because acknowledging and holding accountable the pervasive element of sexual assault in our world is the same as a sociopathic, paranoid political witchhunt spearheaded by a single egomaniacal gasbag.

          Never learned analogies in school? Not to worry – next year, when you’re out of primary school, these elements are covered.

        • double-sharp says:

          And that’s how little Gauleiters like you identfied the transportees off the trains. With asterisks against their names.

    • Ramon Figueroa says:

      Sorry, I meant womanizing, not humanizing.

    • Guest says:

      You are so full of $hit. PD was tenor of the best of the last 50 years. JN was great, but one of many.

    • La Roche says:

      On another front: 25 years ago Domingo founded the singing competition Operalia to promote young singers, financing and running it ever since. During this time a total of about 1000 aspiring young artists have had all expenses paid to participate, get experience, advice and valuable exposure for their careers. If this is egomania we could do with more of it.

  • None of the allegations were anonymous. AP knows the names of all 20 women, and carefully vetted each and every allegation. As is standard journalistic practice in cases of sexual abuse, their names were not given in the articles.

    • Emil says:

      In Quebec, journalists are legally barred from reporting the names of victims of sexual assault who testify in court. No one would suggest these victims do not exist because they are “anonymous” (anonymised, really) in news reports.

      The whole ‘anonymous allegations’ is a red herring.

    • dpubke-sharp says:

      Bullcrap, William Osborne. Your usual empty, know-nothing lying bullcrap.

    • Karl says:

      anonymous def: not named or identified
      -Merriam Webster

    • Anon says:

      William, again, a news agency should not be the source for discrediting anyone personally and professionally. We are speaking of a career which spanned decades and held international importance, destroyed by one journalist and her well-vetted accusations.

      It doesn’t matter that “AP knows the names. . . ” AP is a news agency. They are in business to sell stories. If they have to meticulously back up every claim to sell those stories, they will. But justice is not their intent. Making money is their intent.

      Is it truly acceptable to consider a news agency a worthy source for discrediting an elderly man’s life?
      AP may be the Holy Grail of news agencies, but that doesn’t make this right. They are still in business to sell stories, and that’s exactly what has fueled this attack on Domingo. New sources should not be counted on to evaluate justice impartially. That is not their function, for very obvious reasons.

      • Fallacy Ref says:

        So then, in our current landscape, how would you prefer the victims address their concerns in a manner that would both unite them and hold the guilty party accountable? How are they, other than journalistic intervention, to spread awareness of the misdeeds of the past to both aid in preventing further instances and aid in providing closure to trauma?

        News agencies are in the business of selling stories, however, it can likewise be argued opera companies are in the business of selling tickets. We like to think that it comes down to beauty/transcendence/art, but in the end, technically, it’s ticket sales. So just as opera companies provide beauty, transcendence, and art, all while technically being in the business of selling tickets, news organizations provide knowledge, awareness, and the opportunity for disparate parties to connect on information, while technically being in the business of selling copy.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        If newspapers don’t report the truth, then who should?

  • Tiredofitall says:

    (Sorry….) He will be WELL remembered.

  • deborah says:

    About time. Enjoy your retirement mister.

  • Jack says:

    Nice to see that Europeans have not been swept away by Metoo fanaticism.

    Europeans appear to be fanatical only about climate change and the rise of populism.

  • Bruce says:

    Of course the more he behaves as if there is substance to the accusations, the more proof that they are untrue. /eyeroll

  • SoCal Dan says:

    Placido Domingo had been scheduled to perform in early 2020 as the Duke of Nottingham in LA Opera’s production of Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux. It was supposed to be his 154th role debut.

    The LA Opera website no longer lists him as the Duke of Nottingham. In fact, it does not say who will be performing that role in the opera.

  • George says:

    So sorry to hear that but I guess this way he can get at least part of this terrible witch hunt out of his mind and focus on his performances now outside of the US where he is very much awaited.

  • Karl says:

    Metoo has created a script for false accusers to follow. It’s easy for any disgruntled nut or failure to follow it and it can snowball into a feeding frenzy.

    • Vaquero357 says:

      This, exactly. The accused almost never “prove a negative” – that the incident(s) did not happen, unless the accuser names a specific date and the accused was, say, out of the country at the time. Nor can the accused prove that at the time there was a consensual relationship. The accuser’s answer usually is, “Well, I went along with it because I was afraid.”

      What are some of the accusers gaining? Revenge for some offense/slight from the other person. And/or attention.

      The way to resolve this societal problem is, in the case of genuine sex harassment or assault, for victims to report it to the appropriate authorities IMMEDIATELY – while eye witnesses can still be found, security camera footage reviewed, and texts and other electronic media evidence still exists.

      It also means individuals have to have self-defense plans in place. Society’s institutions will not always be able to protect you.

      One wonders how many of the alleged incidents with Placid Domingo might have been prevented by: “Mr Domingo, I greatly respect you as an artist and am truly honored to perform with you. But I do not want to have sex with you, now or in the future. Please stop propositioning me. If you don’t, I will kick you in the groin so hard you will have to switch to soprano roles.”

      • CHNina says:

        Vaquero357 says it exactly right.. All of Domingo’s supposed “victims” only had to say “I don’t want what you want.” This was always enough. I speak as one who often had to remove his hand from my thigh. It only took a clear NO to stop him.

        He came from a culture, and an age, in which men always “gave it a try”. But he always respected a firm NO. I absolutely believe the many women who are now, many years later, accusing him of trying to seduce them. But why didn’t they simply say NO? And why are they still, thirty years later, still suffering from the idea that an attractive man found them desirable?

        Ladies — did he hurt us in any way? Did he actually do you any harm? He found you attractive, he “tried it on” with you. If you said NO, he accepted that and moved on. If for some reason you found it impossible to say NO….honestly, I have to say, that’s your problem, not his.

        • That Guy says:

          Every story indicates they said “no.” All of them. Remove your head from the cavity in your posterior. If you can.

      • Fallacy Ref says:

        It’s not always possible to report these instances immediately. Eye witness testimony has been soundly proven as unreliable in courts of law due to the tenable nature of the process of human memory. Security cameras might not be pointed where incidents occur. Texts and other electronic media didn’t even exist in the time of many of these cases.

        Saying the way to end sexual harassment is for women simply not to be victims is idiotic in the extreme. All of the women clearly said “no” – this wasn’t sufficient. Threatening violence, as you’re suggesting in your version of an attempt at humor, would be more damning than anything and everything these women did.

        Seriously. Turn the brain switch to “on.”

    • Fallacy Ref says:

      Look at the statistics for how many cases of reported sexual abuse are proven false vs. revealed as true. Individuals like you seem not to like #MeToo because well, it hurts when those you idolize are revealed as deviant and hurtful people.

      Internet comment boards have created a script for those fraudulently claiming intelligence to follow. It’s easy for any disgruntled nut or failure to follow it, and it can snowball into a feeding frenzy.

  • Vaquero357 says:

    American White Knights: put down your lances and broadswords. He’s gone from the U.S. and likely will never come back.

  • Cantantelirico says:

    He had very little involvement in the day to day running of the company. He was a magnet for fundraising. People who didn’t know shit about opera donated so could rub elbows with him at after parties. No one will miss him in Los Angeles.
    The company can now move forward.

  • V.Lind says:

    I am more interested by his remark that he will “continue” to work to clear his name. I was not aware he had started, though perhaps his efforts are still behind the scenes. I would be delighted if he were to succeed.

    • Karl says:

      I would love to see him win a defamation suit against the AP. But our free press rules make that difficult. Someone can win a suit against a media organization only if the person can prove that the publication published information with actual malice, knowing it to be wholly incorrect, as well as in cases of reckless disregard. That could apply here though.

  • Saxon Broken says:

    Norman writes: “Outside of the US, Domingo’s career is unaffected.”

    Er…not exactly. He will likely complete his existing contracts and be quietly dropped.