Music journalism faces a post-Domingo backlash

Music journalism faces a post-Domingo backlash


norman lebrecht

October 29, 2019

Every day, my social media feed carries messages of support for Placido Domingo, the singer whose US career was derailed by mostly unnamed female accusers. Many of the messages are from young female musicians.

Here’s one in today’s mail, by a Munich violinist, Alexandra Hauser:

What a night…I still have trouble finding the right words after an emotional evening such as this one. Thank you to the Wiener Staatsoper and to the Wiener Philharmoniker for an incredible experience that I shall forever treasure, and most of all, thank you to you Plácido Domingo for being YOU. Your musicianship, dedication, love, honesty, work, years of experience can only be an extremely big inspiration to us young musicians. Being a young violinist, opera was my biggest love, and somehow singers were always my biggest inspirations. Meeting Domingo was a lifetime experience that cannot be compared. His humbleness and will to speak to us young musicians is inspiring. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I shall treasure Macbeth for the rest of my life ❤️

What could be more heartwarming for an artist than the innocent appreciation of a young professional fan? These messages have persisted and increased in recent weeks, while newspapers have gradually lost interest in the Domingo story. The people who support Domingo are aware of the reports about Domingo. They simply don’t believe them, nor do they trust the journalism that produced this furore.

Many colleagues of Domingo’s post daily messages of support. Today’s pack includes fond waves from tenors Piotr Beczala and Javier Camarena. They don’t trust AP’s reporting, either.

Nor does the Vienna State Opera, which will feature Domingo in a livestream this weekend, greatly increasing its online footprint.

What we are witnessing in the post-Domingo environment is a widening gulf between the media industry and the world of opera.

Where this will lead no-one can tell, but what was once an easy dialogue has been coated in frost and we hear that some media organisations will not be welcome in certain opera backstages from here on.





  • Lynne says:

    What you have isn’t a widening gulf of opera and journalism. It’s just that more fan-girls and sycophants have been given a platform to speak out. To black list and blame journalism because you don’t like the news is childish and ridiculous.

    • “The medium is the message” is a phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan introduced in McLuhan’s book Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, published in 1964.[1] McLuhan proposes that a medium itself, not the content it carries, should be the focus of study. He said that a medium affects the society in which it plays a role not only by the content delivered over the medium, but also by the characteristics of the medium itself.

      McLuhan uses the term ‘message’ to signify content and character. The content of the medium is a message that can be easily grasped. And the character of the medium is another message which can be easily overlooked

    • LeMaitreSansMarteau says:

      If they print lies, then kick them out, with a lifetime ban.

      This whole thing started with that disgusting apology for a human being, David ‘Nice’ – and his NATO-sponsored ad-hominem attacks on Valery Gergiev. Seeing these published simply emboldened the Doolittles – encouraging them to believe that the piffle they scribble from their free seats at Dress Rehearsals is somehow as important as what’s taking place on the stage? I’ve got news for them – no-one cares what they ‘think’.

      If you get on a bus, does that entitle you to publish libellous twaddle about what you believe the private life of the driver to be? So why should you be able to libel performers in opera houses?

      So come on, dungaree fans – type your anonymous finger-pointing trash below – and discredit yourselves still further?!?!

      Sheridan nailed these people as long ago as the 18th century – with ‘Mr Dangle’ sending his agent Snake to insert anonymous tittle-tattle in all the London newspapers.

    • Kimberly says:

      “Sycophants” you say, there’s one way to end it…the accusers act like strong women and come out to give proof of their words. Until then all of us “fan-girls and sycophants” will continue to stand up for the real victims of this mess, the entire Domingo family. Of course, that will never happen because these women are weak liars.

      • David says:

        It’s fascinating how the same response is given by the fans of Trump, Cosby, Weinstein, R Kelly, etc. Literally exactly the same.

        Such an interesting human quirk, how our belief of a victim is based entirely on how much we like the person accused.

    • Manunju says:

      …Yes….quite…from what I heard, years ago from a person who at that point in time spent quite a bit of time close to PD…I am not in the least surprised that he finds himself in this trouble now. To label his actions ‘criminal’, more, or less, because of his power position … or not at all so…. I would personally not dare to even try to judge. But, and again personally, I would not call the PD behaviour I heard about quite sane, and definitely not sound. Therefore I am inclined to think that the women who say that they felt they were sexually harassed by PD have reason to say so.

    • AnotherSinner says:

      There are allegations, that’s it. What we do have proof of is your gullibility.

      After Jussie Smollet, Covington Kids and Dreadlocks Girl, some recent hoaxes aided and abetted by a craven press, fewer of us should rush to judgment.

      Especially of a man who has delivered so much beauty and joy to the entire planet. For over six decades. And helped so many others achieve their dream of being an artist in opera, too. And raised so much money for so many charities. And stopped earning money for himself and his family for an entire year so he could fund raise for Tlatelolco, Mexico, the town where four members of his own family were killed by the 1985 Mexico earthquake. A town that he adopted as his charge, becoming its godfather, and caretakes to this day.

      All of that is meaningless to those eager to believe the worst of a fellow person. No, the mere appearance of allegations in print by 18 unknown accusers (and two known, but whose claims are so pathetic as to be derisible) is enough to throw all of that away. Allegations of acts 20-30 years ago. With no proof. With no asking any critical questions about the contributing behaviour of the accusers. Without regard for the mountainous documentation of the great man’s life on film, in print, and in the memories of the many thousands of people who have just as real personal experience of him as the alleged accusers, and these many people readily vouch for his character.

      If you’re going to be a vigilante of the court of public opinion, be consistent. If the number of accusers makes you think they’re real, then the number of defenders should make you think the defenders are legit, too. And more so, because there are far more of them.

      He’s not guilty of the allegations. Guaranteed. How dare I be so damn sure? Because of the allegations themselves and how they’ve been made.

      Placido Domingo is worth more than 20,000 of you. He’s value added, you’re not.

      • TubaMinimum says:

        Counting accusers versus defenders is somewhat ridiculous in this case though, no? Because they all can be telling the truth. The people who say “he has never been anything but a professional, a great artist, and the sweetest man to me” can be telling the truth. The people who say “he was inappropriate and harassing to me” can also be telling the truth.

        • AnotherSinner says:

          Tuba, you’ve conflated the criteria. The accused say “he’s guilty” of what specifically is not the point. The defenders say “he’s not guilty” of what specifically is not the point. It is the Court of Public Opinion who set this standard of credibility, not me. It is the Court of Public Opinion that protests “but so many people can’t be lying.” They don’t specify what they couldn’t be lying about, they only focus on the number of accusers. So following that illogical logic, if 20 say guilty, and 200 say not guilty, the not guilty sayers prevail and we must accept their verdict. See?

          • Louise Guinther says:

            I completely agree with you. There is a very good reason for the protections afforded to the accused in our criminal justice system, and the idea that the media should be free to convict someone in that famous “court of public opinion” without regard to any such protections is both unjust and un-American.

      • Carlos says:

        What a star-struck and naive comment. Just because Domingo has “delivered so much beauty and joy to the entire planet”, allegations against him should not be automatically dismissed. Bill Cosby also delivered joy to American TV audiences. By your standards, he should not be in prison now.

      • Mikael says:

        Bill Cosby brought a ton of joy too. and?

  • kaa12840 says:

    For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction

    • Jk says:

      Is that from the Matrix?

    • Has-been says:

      In Domingo’s case I think it is an understandable reaction to the positive impact PD has had over 5 decades artistically and in the many fund raising benefits he has participated in.and also his unfailing kindness to fans at the stage doors all over the world. Whatever the view is no-one has said he has not been one of the great artists of his time.

  • sam says:

    Was there ever classical music “journalism” to speak of really — in the sense of true professional journalists covering a beat, like reporting and investigating on the White House, or City Hall, or acting as war correspondents — or was classical music “journalism” really just a bunch of music critics writing writing mainly reviews and then, on the side, occasionally writing up on the happenings of the local symphony or opera?

    That is, in much the same way that restaurant critics are not necessarily “food and nutrition journalists”…

    I make this distinction because it matters: To give but one example, both the NYT and New Yorker classical music critics have said that they had long heard rumors of James Levine and boys, but felt that their role as critics was not to report on or investigate these rumors, in other words, they were not “journalists”. They regretted their unqualified praise of James Levine back then in their reviews.

    Here, the point here is, classical music “journalists” long knew of Placido Domingo’s reputation. If they were true “journalists” they would have reported on Domingo’s doings back way back when. But because they are not, they are just critics, they did not.

    If classical music critics were true journalists, we would hold them to very different standards. It’d be like a White House correspondent who failed to report on Watergate because he was there just to review the State Dinners.

    So yes, there is a backlash, classical music “journalists” who actually do nothing but criticism are more irrelevant now than ever.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Confident Geoffrey Rush back in Hollywood spotlight

    12:00AM OCTOBER 30, 2019
    Geoffrey Rush has returned to the international stage looking as if he never left it, barely a year after his lawyer said he might never work again.

    In his first live performance since his defamation case over ­allegations of inappropriate on-set behaviour, the 68-year-old actor performed a reading of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice alongside Hollywood star Al Pacino in Los Angeles.

  • Twenty women make corroborated allegations and they aren’t believed? And there are many other people who said they saw him misbehave and say his behavior was well-known. The issue isn’t that some Europeans don’t believe him, but they don’t care if women are sexually harassed.

    • Emil says:

      Exactly. It seems everyone knew, and has known for a long time, what Domingo was up to – the numerous stories about ‘taking precautions’ around him and the talk of ‘open secrets’ speak to that. People in the industry knew and know – they didn’t and don’t care.

      • Look at Siegried Mauser case. He was convicted and sentenced to two years and nine months in prison for felony sexual assault, and yet days after his final lost appeak, they publish a Festschrift in his honor. The hypocrisy and misogyny of the continental classical music world stares us in the face.

      • If Domingo were indicted and even a quarter of the women who have made allegations testified, he would go to prison.

        • Bring PD Back says:

          Domingo isn’t accused of rape. He is accused of making suggestive remarks apparently in jest, or a single inappropriate touch which was NOT corroborated. The other accusers, like the two who went public, apparently never went to the cops or AGMA. The LA Opera former staffer who started the “it was a well known secret” falsehood as well as the “couldn’t leave him alone with a female” canard, with no evidence at all, says she made these as allegations in the *1980s*, long before PD assumed a leadership position.

          • Kay Langford says:

            You need to get something straight. He’s been accused of demanding sex from women in terms of extorting them– no sex and I will ruin your career, no sex and you’ll never work with me again– apparently it didn’t matter if the woman was married or not.
            Sexual harassment is about power, it’s about no respect for women and it has nothing to do with Artistry in Opera or any other venue.

    • sycorax says:

      You’re aware that you’re just maintaining that the Associated Press, one of the world’s most renowed Press Agencies, doesn’t know how to do its job? That they’re documenters aren’t able to check if there’s one accuser or 20?
      As a former AP employee i can assure you: They won’t risk their reputation because of Domingo. You can be sure: They’re willing and able to prove every line in the article in front of a court. Only Domingo didn’t sue – odd, isn’t it?
      Besides it wasn’t only the AP. The German magazine Spiegel had a story about a former Sony Employee who was harassed by Domingo, too.

  • V.Lind says:

    This seems like a simple case of “blame the messenger.” A responsible journalistic source has published the accounts it was offered by people it has scrutinised and found credible. They are literally only a medium in this. There is no “witch hunt,” there is no effort to perform a “take-down” of a well-loved and justly admired figure. They have reported what they have been given. That is their job.

    What has been missing in this sad story is a credible response by the accused. He has elected to remove himself from the arenas in which the stories of his behaviour have been lodged and repair to others, from which no sources have emerged.

    That may help the story fade from pubic attention and let him carry on his life satisfactorily among supporters. And that may be the only outcome. If so, so be it. He is no longer in proximity to those who find it uncomfortable to work with him, and if nobody in Europe shares that view, life can go on.

    But blaming the media in general and refusing them journalistic access is juvenile and spiteful.

    • Kenny says:

      Love the Freudian slip!

    • AnotherSinner says:

      V.Lind, this is a witch hunt, and it is activist rumor repeating in service to the MeToo campaign, there is no journalism of any kind involved. If Debra Katz, a now infamous feminist activist lawyer gets a healthy chunk of the TimesUp 22M, of Domingo’s $, that’s ok by her.

  • Sam says:

    The old blame the messenger tactic. Guess if it worked for Trump, Putin and Erdogan to vilify the press…nothing like being on the wrong side of the history.

  • McGill Musician says:

    This is disappointing. I studied with her father many years ago, whom I greatly respect. I was around her regularly when she was a child. I am extremely surprised that someone who has been raised by such a valued educator constantly around young women, would respond in such a manner.

    • Missy says:

      I would love to know who you are, because this coming from a student who studied with my father and greatly respects his family, surprises me. If you have something to say, have the decency to message me about it.

  • Don Quixote says:

    Thank God for European girls and the way they were brought up.

    • Lynne says:

      Right now, there is a case in Barcelona where five men were found innocent of raping an unconscious women because she “didn’t fight back”. Apparently that’s how the law reads. Is this the upbringing you are thanking god for?

  • Cassandra says:

    Indeed heartwarming observations,
    Mr Lebrecht

    But could we find some other expression to describe it than
    The resuscitation perhaps, if the spelling weren’t so tricky.

    Suggestions, please…

  • Lyn says:

    The press is and has been for a long time out of control.

  • Po says:

    Why Viennese or
    European would give a damn? It’s not like they haven’t seen Nazi musicians.
    On the other hand, did American not worship Flagstad as a diva right after war, and did New Yorker not tolerate Levine for 25 years when really everyone always knows he fancies what skin colour what gender what age of individuals? Now suddenly it‘s a big deal in America, and American expects European to follow. Of course they will not.
    It‘s not that people in Europe don’t believe the report; they simply don’t care. Just like you didnt care about what Levine was doing in the past 25 years.

  • Victoria says:

    The two named accusers in the Domingo allegations reported by AP have both been exposed with past statements / actions that are clear evidence of their lack of credibility. It is not journalism. It is smear campaign and corruption.

    • Tamino says:

      Most likely yes.
      Also it should be remembered, that his son was deeply involved with the scientology cult, then left the cult, and it wouldn’t be the first time that cult excercises pressure on wealthy family members to extort money, and if they don’t collaborate, tries to damage them in a smear campaign.

      • sycorax says:

        If the article would have been in an American local newspaper I’d probably believed in $cientology trying something.
        But we’re talking about the Associated Press and the Spiegel, both known for being serious and big publishing enterprises certainly not influenced by $cientology.
        Besides there remains one point: If Domingo would think it’s only a smear campaign and nothing about is true he’d have sued. But he didn’t – probably because his lawyers told him he doesn’t stand a chance against AP. They don’t publish what they can’t prove in front of a court.

        • AnotherSinner says:

          Sycorax, you’re either willfully naive or a sub-adult using a stolen avi pic.

          Here’s why I say so: look at the numerous retractions the AP has made in the past, and because they hire fallible humans who often have agendas, they’ll continue to have to make retractions. I’ll give you one to start with: the Iran rockets picture.

          Der Spiegel? LOL They just recently had to fire Claas Relotius, for having fully fabricated an entire news report about an American town. So just because words are written under a masthead doesn’t mean it’s so. Look at Rolling Stone, a long standing publication of once admired reputation. It just had to pay over a million $ to the Univ of VA student they libeled. We’ll see if they get sued by the Duke Lacrosse team they also libeled.

          What makes you think Placido Domingo isn’t in the process of litigating? Legal cases take a while to fully develop to the stage of filing suit, certainly longer than a few months. And using that as a way to tell if someone is guilty, whether they fight back and how, is not advised. I direct you to the Innocence Project to learn why.

          • Calvin says:

            He is obviously not litigating. His press release regarding LA was carefully crafted by lawyers and PR people. Nobody preparing for a legal battle for breach of contract would have framed his statement that way. I will bet you $1000 that no such suit will arise. He would have no case because (a) the overwhelming proof against him would be made public and/or (b) knowing the handwriting was on the wall, he refused to cooperate with the independent investigation by responding formally to the evidence the outside investigators found, and his lack of cooperation in the process itself likely is an additional independent ground establishing his breach of his contract.

          • sycorax says:

            You make it sound as if AP or the Spiegel would have retractions once a month. But that isn’t so. The Relotius case is the first big thing in a few years and the AP didn’t have a big scandal in years. For the things which happened I can only quote my old editor-in-chief who always said: “Where work is done, mistakes are made. The only way to avoid them entirely is not working at all.”
            I don’t know exactly about American law, but in Germany you can’t wait for “a few months” until you start litigating. Besides I’d think it rather idiotic if PD would do his protest in secret! His first interest should be to get to people that he feels innocent and that the AP articles are wrong. He can’t get that by dealing with them in secret.

  • Hugo Drexler says:

    He is the Giant of all, Bless is heart, Don Domingo.

    • FrauGeigerin says:

      Don Plácido. In Spanish from Spain ‘Don’ is used only with the first name. ‘Señor’ is used only with the family name.

  • Calvin says:

    There are, in fact, named accusers. And beyond the AP there are the obvious results of LA’s internal investigation.

    • Patrick Gillot says:

      Yes the named accusers have been exposed for their lack of credibility. This is pure smear and calomny

      • Calvin says:

        Nonsense. There has been not a single piece of rebuttal evidence against them. Nor was there, obviously, with respect to the others interviewed in the LA internal investigation.

        I am amused by the tRumpian ‘fake news’ tactics of those addressing what was a notorious open secret about PD for decades. It’s fine to admit you don’t care about what everyone has long recognized, but why say it is simply not true?

    • AnotherSinner says:

      Calvin, have you read the claims by Wulf and Walker? They’re so minor as to be derisible. The LA private investigation is ongoing, so far as anyone not directly involved can possibly tell, so there are no results yet, obvious or otherwise. Guaranteed, he will be cleared. Behaviour of 30 years ago now considered harassment cannot and should not be retroactively prosecuted by today’s standards. That’s unjust and insane. And by the way, why aren’t you curious about how the accusers behaved back then? Oh that.

  • John Borstlap says:

    It is part of a wider phenomenon: the traditional media are no longer believed by many people, and since they have now access to an entirely free platform – the internet – they prefer to make their own ‘news’. It is a form of information populism, and facts are less and less important. Where populist people can get away with nonsense, they will do so. And it undermines any ethical awareness that still may have been intact.

    It is an unexpected effect of the internet – its freedom also creates the mental cage of nonsense and unreality. These effects can also be observed in politics, and social phenomenae which had been deemed extinct long ago: rightwing extremism, neonazism, etc.

    • Patrick Gillot says:

      The medias are not believed any more because they spread lies.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Not the traditional ones, like the BBC, Die Zeit, Frankfurter Allgemeine, The Times, Suddeutsche, Le Monde, Le Figaro. If in doubt, one can explore a couple of these, and compare them. Together they picture some trustworthy vision of reality. The bbc is well-known for its thorough expertise and always tries to check anything they come across and see things from all possible sides. ‘The medias’ is an invention of fake news loving ignorati like the current US president.

        • Lulu Talley says:

          Precisely — and not one of those serious publications has, as far as I have seen, reported anything on this subject except that AP released a story about Domingo and Domingo released a statement in response. I have seen no investigative reporting and no corroboration from any other publication: they simply report the fact that AP ran the story. And indeed, it’s hard to imagine how anyone could proceed to either verify or debunk accusations from unnamed sources who said themselves in their original statements that no palpable evidence exists (not surprising after 30 years.) But the idea that Domingo should have been able to adequately refute the accusations when he doesn’t even know whom they come from is patently absurd.

          • sycorax says:

            In Germany almost every big magazine and especially the over regional newspapers like FAZ, SZ, Zeit und Welt have reported, besides the Stern had an article and the Spiegel even had a long one with a former employee of Sony speaking out about becoming harassed by Domingo.

  • FrauGeigerin says:

    What is missing here is a real legal action from the alleged victims of PD. Otherwise it is just disgusting gossiping. When I have been the victim of a crime (and unfortunately I have been victim of a serious crime) I have gone to the police and they have taken over from then. What I have not done is going to the papers and accuse there. Civilised countries have professionals who have trained to make sure that the law is applied and when it is not followed to enforce it and punish the criminal and compensate the victim… when the people become the judges and the media de courtrooms we are falling into very VERY dark ages.

    • Calvin says:

      Sexual harassment in fact is not a crime, short of assault or rape. Sexual pressure by a superior to maintain or advance your professional position is unlawful but is not and never was a police matter. If victims ran to the courts every time this happened over the years, the courts would scarcely have time to deal with anything else. Very interesting theory by this legal mastermind that declining to go to the police or the courts stips one of the right to free speech.

      And by the way, there was a detailed legal investigation by the LA Opera conducted by a major international law firm. While their findings were not and need not be made public, you really don’t need to be a mastermind to figure out what they were. Notwithstanding PD’s self-servicing press release, LA’s statements made clear that he was asked to leave as a result of the internal investigation.

      • Patrick Gillot says:

        so basically secret investigation is enough for you to declare his guilt? Do you forget the effect of the power of money, this very one which makes half of American Business kowtow in front of the Chinese dictator?

        • Calvin says:

          Damn strait. Companies and organizations conduct internal investigations of alleged wrongdoing all the time. People are dismissed from employment all the time based on those investigations. The detailed results and all the evidence are rarely made public, and they generally should not be. This type of careful process is all the more true in this case. LA was contractually on the hook to pay PD millions, and it could not back out of the contract without substantiation that, by his conduct, PD breached his contract — hence the painstaking independent third-party investigation. The results are plain, and you don’t see PD filing a lawsuit to either remain in place or be paid what he would have been for the balance of his contract. That speak volumes.

          Your comments about money make no sense in this context. PD still sells tickets and garners recording deals. The dismissal also leave LA in the lurch in the short term. Hence, canning him is hardly in LA’s financial interests. LA is acting contrary to its financial interests.

        • sycorax says:

          For heaven’s sake, next you’ll tell PD was always known for being an innocent, little angle when in fact everyone in the world of opera knew about his womanising!
          Besides: Why didn’t PD sue? If it were only “pure smear and calomny” he could demand a lot of money for lost engagements and the damage to his reputation! But there wasn’t a word from him and his lawyers and he even didn’t say “I never did something like that”.

      • FrauGeigerin says:

        Typical US-American answer. If it is not a crime in the USA it is not a crime anywhere. It is a crime in other countries with better laws and more freedom than the US. Fresh news, buddy, the world is big, this blog is based in Europe, the music you hear is mostly by european composers, and most classical music lovers are european.

      • Lulu Talley says:

        Unless I have missed something, the investigation’s results have not been made public because it is ongoing. At the time of Domingo’s withdrawal from LA Opera, it was made patently clear by the company that the investigation had NOT been completed, but that it would continue despite Domingo’s departure. And the separate investigation declared by AGMA was begun for the specific purpose of making sure that the results were transparent. Could it be that these investigations have hampered by the accusers’ refusal to say who they are? At any rate, the suggestion that the investigations have uncovered some kind of proof that is somehow being kept secret is entirely spurious.

    • V.Lind says:

      For God’s sake — there is a difference between harassment, which is a workplace issue, and criminal behaviour, of which nobody has accused Domingo. Just because he did not rape people or attack them violently does not mean he did not overstep the bounds of acceptable behaviour to members of the opposite sex. Workplace harassment is usually resolved in workplaces, not in courts. If he made it uncomfortable for women to come and do their jobs it was up to managements to step in. Who do you think most managements would support — the mega-star, or the backbench artists whose replacement would not even be noticed by the public?

      Get a grip. And join the 21sr century.

  • Emil says:

    Question: if the opera and music industry closes ranks around someone accused credibly of sexual assault and harassment by over 20 women, does this speak more about the music journalism industry or the opera industry?
    If the opera industry’s reaction to 20 stories of sexual misconduct is “pshhh, everyone knew this in the industry, why is this a big deal?”, does this speak badly of the musical journalism industry or the musical industry in which the harassment was apparently an open secret?
    Finally, I don’t think the problem is that the people on the inside don’t “believe” the reports about Domingo. After all, the overwhelming reaction when the first report came out was ‘duh, it’s an open secret’ (followed by ‘it’s not that bad’). So it’s not that they don’t believe it – it’s that they simply don’t care.

    • V.Lind says:

      That’s right. And Philadelphia and San Francisco barely drew breath before cancelling Domingo appearances. Given the possible financial implications, and the reputational ones, of this decision, you have to figure serious people in the industry were well aware of the stories about the artist.

      The fact that he had been invited, and the invitations withdrawn so precipitately, suggests that they did know about him and were prepare to ignore it — until it became public, and they valued their reputation among women and in the cause of zero tolerance (if they were about to be associated with the wrong side of the issue) more than the money and kudos a Domingo appearance would bring.

      • Patrick Gillot says:

        who cares about your second rated US Opera Houses?

        • Yes Addison says:

          Obviously, Domingo cared about them, as he appeared at them between the years of 1961 and 2019.

          But now he’ll have more time free for Europe. If you and other Europeans consider him a marvelous conductor of opera and a valuable singer in baritone roles in his seventies and eighties, you’ll have more opportunities to hear him there.The United States can take whatever conductors and baritones aren’t getting the assignments he’ll be given.

        • V.Lind says:

          Two of which your idol ran?

          And I don’t hear “Live from the Staatsoper” broadcast every Saturday, as it has been for the better part of a century, around the world. So somebody cares.

    • Calvin says:

      Good point. Inside the opera world the reaction really is, as you put it, “duh, it’s an open secret.” It was semi-official policy in LA and elsewhere to forewarn women about PD. Ironic, therefore, that so many on the outside choose not to believe it. They can choose not to care, of course, but it is amusing that, rather than admit to indifference, people state their case with tRumpian ‘fake news’ tactics.

  • George says:

    I think one of the big problems is that the same wording is used for totally different actions.
    There’s a difference whether you ask for a kiss or put your hand on someones knee or whisper into someone’s ear or if you clearly ask for sex, blackmail, abuse, drug or rape women or force them to perform sexual acts.
    The first maybe a sin, but the other is a crime.
    Yet it gets all meddled and that’s what I really don’t like about this debate.

  • Neagu, Jeanette says:

    There is a probability the accusations are accurate but breaking contract because of his behavior years ago makes no sense.

  • Patrick Gillot says:

    It is not a difference between social media and the world of opera, it is the difference between proven guilty and presumed innocent. Placido Domingo made himself sometime heavy with some women who only react 40 years later but did he commit any crime? Enough of this leftist virtue signaling. The reaction in favour of Domingo is only the beginning of a backlash against unproven accusations.

    • V.Lind says:

      God almighty. how often do you ignorami have to be told? NOBODY HAS ACCUSED DOMINGO OF ANY CRIME. And wanting to work in peace — peace from sexual aggression by a randy star tenor — is not “virtue signalling.” It should be a workplace norm.

      I have not noticed your name here before. So far, you are not a very useful addition to the posting community.

  • Victoria says:

    About the two named accusers:

    1) Patricia Wulf, just weeks before her accusation against Domingo reported by AP, she had on her LinkedIn account proudly advertising her credential of having performed with opera greats such as Placido Domingo. After being exposed by Spanish media on that, she took that mention off her LinkedIn page. But internet remembers everything. And screenshot of her previous page is permanently there.

    2) Angela Turner Wilson, who accused Domingo with allegations alleged to take place in the 1999-2000 season Washington Opera run of “Le Cid”: It has been exposed and also even reported on this website that in 2006, she said in an interview with a newspaper that, “Big opera moment: Singing “Le Cid” at Washington Opera with Placido Domingo: “It’s like standing next to a force of nature.”” Clearly she considered the experience with Domingo as positive. How come 13 years later in 2019, it became harassment?

    It should have been fairly easy for AP to discover such publicly available information during their investigation and verification process. How could a responsible news agency have decided to publish the two articles with such contradictory statements / actions in plain-sight existence? AP clearly has an agenda to smear Domingo.

    • sycorax says:

      Because Domingo is important? As a former employee of AP: If I’d have offered a story about PD in the conference, 50 % of the people there would have asked “About who?” And the explanation had made for at least 2/3 of the conference yawning.

      • Victoria says:

        So now you assume the identity of someone used to work at AP? What’s your relationship with that AP reporter in the Domingo story? Anyway, if 50% of the people in the conference had no idea who Domingo is, then there was rather good chance for the reporter of the story to get her report with more holes than swiss cheese to pass through internal approval process for publication.

      • AnotherSinner says:

        That doesn’t address Victoria’s question. The world is a very big place and there are many human endeavors where exemplars are hugely important and rightly famous, but take one step to the right outside of that special world and people will wonder what the fuss is. Such is opera.

        How Placido Domingo got selected as a MeToo prey item:

        Enter feminist activist lawyer Debra Katz. Her gambit to bring down Brett Kavanaugh, the “30 years ago” allegation, failed, as must needs.

        As a white knight for MeToo, and keeping her eye firmly fixed on the 22M GoFundMe in TimesUp’s hands, she cast about for fresh clients whose stories she could embellish into plausible cases to litigate in the Court of Public Opinion, a tribunal notorious for its picayune standards of proof, dearth of protection for the reputation and livelihood of the accused, and indifference to the collateral damage of the lives and loves of those associated with the defendant.

        What field of endeavor tends to brim with young, good looking people, who tend to be naive and inexperienced, who tend to be attracted to said field for they have a skewed view, positive and negative, of themselves and their talents?

        Entertainment. Because of the high degree of attention this industry garners from The Media, fame and fortune can be attained on a fast track with very little in the way of actual talent, but by self-promotion, the gift of BS, comely physical attributes and a novel grift. If you play the game right, you can turn 15 minutes of fame into 15 tons of press which turns into all kinds of offers lined with cash.

        Now, to make life easier on herself, Katz targets the subsets of entertainment where most of the subject type of potential client will congregate, Hollywood and stage theatres. Out go the feelers and lo and behold, she gets some touch back.

        All Katz has to do is take the feeblest, most flimsy of recollection from 10, 20, 30 years ago and lead the potential client by the hand, slowly, gently, to where Katz needs her to stand, on the spot marked VICTIM. So each detail told is repeated by Katz back to the client with enhancements, intensified, weaponized. The naive client has no clue they are being manipulated. They think she understands them. This is Katz’s grift.

        Now, Katz noticed that when it came to opera, there was this guy who was old enough to trot out the “30 years ago” allegation, and with better optics (no one was in high school back when) and he was quite wealthy. Double whammy. So she took her scheme to the MeToo sympathetic, if not activated, journalists at the AP and the hunt for more salacious dirt was given serious effort. Or, just as plausibly, it was the AP rumorists who went hunting and they put Katz onto the “victims” who showed interest. Katz, to her no doubt great delight, was presented a veritable baker’s dozen of incipient clients who could ride the “30 years ago” allegation sans proof to financial reward, less her 40%. This is the scenario Heather Mac Donald at Quillette brilliantly outlines in her extremely well-argued and well-written essay “The Defenestration of Placido Domingo.” If you haven’t read it yet, drop what you’re doing and do so now. (I don’t know the rules here for posting links yet.)

        It is my hope that by targeting our venerated living legend, The Media, MeToo, TimesUp and Debra Katz have finally over-played their hand to such a deeply unjust and cruel extent that they receive yet more backlash and push back and move on from this modern witch hunt revenue stream business model.

        Our fathers, grandfathers, uncles, brothers and nephews deserve to be, and are entitled to be, regarded by every court, and every person, as innocent until and unless proven, with testable evidence, guilty of a crime. Not just an offense or insult, for not everything in life is worthy of a court trial, which is neither realistic or feasible.

        I know it’s trendy to think every infraction that wounds your imagined sensibilities is tantamount to a Nuremburg Trial and a swift execution, but that’s because we’ve allowed the immature and mentally ill to have the floor for far too long. Both groups should be seen but not heard. If the reasons why don’t leap out at you, ask me to explain.

      • George says:

        Says a lot about AP reporters education if 50 % never heard of Plácido Domingo.

  • Nijinsky says:

    Romeo’s a dishclout to him. An eagle, madam,
    Hath not so green, so quick, so fair an eye
    As Paris hath. Beshrew my very heart,
    I think you are happy in this second match,
    For it excels your first. Or if it did not,
    Your first is dead, or ’twere as good he were,
    As living here and you no use of him.


    Speakest thou from thy heart?


    And from my soul too, else beshrew them both.






    Well, thou hast comforted me marvelous much.
    Go in, and tell my lady I am gone,
    Having displeased my father, to Lawrence’s cell
    To make confession and to be absolved.


    Marry, I will, and this is wisely done

  • BobS says:

    For me, the term “sexual harrasment” doesn’t tell me enough to really know. This term is used in other cases and could refer to different misdeeds. Do we condemn a man like PD when we don’t actually know what he did?

    • Kay Langford says:

      He knows what he did. And that’s why he’s trying to fade away. Fade away to Europe where nobody cares.

      He never had the international fame of Pavarotti.
      Outside the Opera World he’s virtually unknown anyway.

  • Louise Guinther says:

    What is perhaps most interesting is how cocksure people are of themselves, whichever side they have chosen. Those who know Domingo well seem universally convinced that, whatever peccadillos he may have engaged in, they were meant in a spirit of kindness and respect. Those who are observing from the sidelines feel justified by “corroboration” which seems to consist entirely of hearsay. But neither side is remotely interested in having its mind changed, so I’m not sure there’s any purpose to the debate. The bottom line is that after so many years, none of it is provable in court (if it were, the charges would have been brought in court), and trying people in the court of public opinion, which offers no protections or fair play whatsoever to the accused, is never going to result in real justice. Domingo has put in decades of good service to the arts community and made decades’ worth of contributions to humanity. Selecting him as MeToo’s poster child was not the movement’s finest moment.

  • Thinking aloud says:

    Isn’t it time to stop bashing Domingo.
    There are plenty of comments about what some people are supposed to know about his conduct, but how many really know anything. There is plenty of rumour and speculation about his womanising, but if you were not present you have no idea about his behaviour.

    Some make suggestions that PD is taking no action against the accusers, the opera houses which withdrew their invitations or the press. How do you know?

    There is a claim that the result of the investigation by LA Opera shows that he was fired from there. So far there has been no statement from LA Opera about the result of the investigation. And as Covent Garden are still awaiting the result of the investigation before deciding whether to withdraw its invitation to sing in Don Carlo next July, it seems strange that LA Opera are keeping the result secret.

    Domingo seems to bring out a great deal of animosity in the contributors to SD – it’s time he stopped singing, he’ not a baritone, he’s a womaniser. Whatever your opinion he is still a great artist. His presence in a production lifts it from being dire (the Macbeth in Vienna at the moment) to something worth hearing and seeing.

    There are many comments about the European audiences not caring that he may have sexually harassed women 20/30years ago. That is not necessarily true. They attend performances to appreciate the man’s artistic abilities, not his personal behaviour. This can be seen in the number of sold out performances he has in Europe. And which he had in the USA before the opera houses all took fright and withdrew their invitations for him to sing.

    As I have written before it is very easy in this day and age for people, women and men, to make anonymous accusations against well known personalities. Aided and abetted in the Domingo case by the Me Too movement and lawyers like Debra Katz who is referred to in one of the comments. Unfortunately many people then assume the accused is guilty, without knowing all the facts.

    So far in this sorry saga I have not heard anyone suggest that the women accusing Domingo are doing so not because he did sexually harass them, but because he did not sexually harass them, and the Me Too movement gave them a vehicle to seek their revenge because he was not interested in them.
    “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
    Just a thought.

  • Nijinsky says:

    Um, there’s also a whole groupie convention of young ladies trolling the internet for Johnny Depp, and I’m sure would come up with the same degree of flattery of him, as was shared here of Domingo, who must be at his best behavior, by now, given the situation. Something he apparently was always good at, being able to charm people.

    With Johnny it seems to be substance abuse and a traumatic childhood, where when he was using, and high, he doesn’t even remember what he did, something narcotics and also psychiatric drugs (see warning label for antidepressants) can do. Antidepressants take away rem dream sleep and a person can be concocting their own nightmare believing things are going on. Messing around with neurotransmitters (which both street and legal drugs do) can have such results. But Johnny doesn’t directly remember what he did, and then starts the denial, and I would even say he’s run by his lawyer, because he just can’t believe he would do such things.

    And after Amber Heard had to get away from Johnny, getting a restraining order and a divorce, she got death threats forcing her to have to change her phone every week, and when she spoke out about it Johnny tries to sue her:

    “I write this as a woman who had to change my phone number weekly because I was getting death threats. For months, I rarely left my apartment, and when I did, I was pursued by camera drones and photographers on foot, on motorcycles and in cars. Tabloid outlets that posted pictures of me spun them in a negative light. I felt as though I was on trial in the court of public opinion — and my life and livelihood depended on myriad judgments far beyond my control.”

    Since then, Johnny seems to feel free to change everything, just about, around, even trying to deny that Amber’s attorney have access to his drug (legal and illegal) and alcohol abuse records; trying to make that out to be some fantastic form of blackmail at first when Amber’s team tried to point out that such evidence should be sealed to prevent it from getting out to the public. Then when her lawyers requested Johnny’s medical records involving substance abuse, his lawyers (although they said it was blackmail for Amber’s team to try to keep such things out of the public’s eye) they tried to prevent such records from being released.

    And at one time Johnny perjured himself about a police report trying to make conspiracy theory connection with Amber supposedly getting together with a friend to concoct up allegations

    , his lawyer consistently brings up that Amber was arrested, when the person she supposedly abused has said it was a false arrest

    The internet is trolled with pictures of Johnny at the hospital with his finger bandaged, and a cigarette burn on his face, all he attributes to Amber, despite the fact that he first was in such a state that he refused to go to the hospital, and instead wrote messages with paint and the blood from his finger all over the house (which Amber found the next morning of Johnny’s ecstasy binge), which there are pictures of. All because Amber was supposedly having an affair with De Franco. And if she was that still is no excuse.

    That’s what a traumatic childhood and substance abuse can do. Amber had stayed with him at first, believing he would change, and that’s really all she wants, she would be happy if he saw that he could deal with his trauma rather than resorting to paranoid scenarios of violence (magnified by substance abuse) against whoever is supposed to be what he never had in life, and thus becomes the target for blame, anything petty becoming amplified as if it’s the evil destroying his life. She would be happy if he realized what he did to his mind, and that he could work things out instead, another way.

    But it CERTAINLY shows what someone goes through who speaks out.

    And where should be put the comma!?

    God rest ye, merry gentlemen


    God rest ye merry, gentlemen

  • Brusselsexpats says:

    Three days ago Placido Domingo, in his capacity as President of Europa Nostra, attended the organisation’s summit in Paris.
    I can confirm that, when he came on stage, the audience at the Théâtre Chatelet cheered him enthusiastically.
    Nobody gave a damn about what is going on in the US opera world. In any case the finest opera houses are in Europe.

  • Anneliese gerl says:

    Great article.BRAVO.