Just in: DC star contests Domingo allegations

In the Washington production of Le Cid where Angela Turner Wilson alleged that Domingo groped her breast, the female lead role, Chimène, was sung by the Portuguese soprano Elisabete Matos.

Matos, newly appointed artistic director of Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, Lisbon, was asked by two Portuguese newspapers this week for her view. She contests the accuracy of Wilson’s recollection.

Here’s what she said:

‘Firstly I don’t like meddling with aspects of other people’s private lives. I can only speak for myself and [Domingo] was always a gentleman with me, a very generous person who treated me and helped me with utmost respect. Another thing I can say is that we live in a supposedly democratic world where there is the presumption of innocence, and public judgements that are not made in a proper place always bring more negative than positive situations. I think he is, was and will continue to be a great artist in our memories, and I hope with all my heart and affection I have for him as a colleague and person who at some point admired my work and invited me to various occasions, that all this will be resolved and clarified. I can’t say more than this because each case is an individual case while there are things I find hard to believe. I will not judge the other party who complains about a situation that might have been less correct. But I doubt it. The person I know is not like that. But I stress, trials should not be made in the public square, but only in the places of law and with evidence and with a presumption of innocence.’

Last night Slipped Disc received this message from Anna Tomowa-Sintow, one of the leading sopranos of the late 20th century:

Over the many years of our artistic collaboration I have always experienced Placido Domingo to be a wonderful human being and an absolutely impeccable partner on stage, as well as a great and tremendously devoted artist. His purpose in life is and always has been to serve music and the arts.
Anna Tomowa-Sintow

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  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    At last someone sensible.

  • Gwyn Haward says:

    Well said Elisabetta Matos ..Presumed innocent
    Until proven otherwise in a court should be the way of justice in every civilised country.
    Trial by social media and press who do not even
    Check facts should be against the law.
    This witch hunt against the Ambassador of the opera world without any proof 20/30 years later
    is outrageous !

  • Claudio says:

    What a misleading title. The way this it is presented, it would seem that because she was there at the time she has the authority to contest the accusations. And that is not the case and that is not what she is saying. This is just another case of “Domingo did not harass or assault me, so therefore he didn’t do it to anyone else”.

    • George says:

      Correct, but most men follow certain patterns. In this case from what I have read in all articles pro/contra Plácido Doming it always started with a flirtatious comment, asking for a phone number, a touch on the hand or knee and trying to get a kiss. He stopped when he was clearly told “no” (he did not stop when people were making excuses or he thought he would still stand a chance). If this is a crime you can lock up half of the world’s population. Although I agree he should have been more careful at his own opera houses, especially becaus eof the strict harassment rules in the USA – but then again all of these women were adults.
      And if they think their whole career depends on going to bed with Plácido Domingo rather then on their voices and talent…well…I don’t know…he may have been their boss at the opera house, but shouldn’t they see themselves as equals to him outside of the opera?

      • Claudio says:

        Why is it so difficult for some people to understand this?

        If the other person has not given clear signals that they want to be touched, you keep your hands off them. Yes, this might lead to some rigidity in social life, but it is a small price to pay if we can ensure that people do not feel entitled to commit sexual assault.

        And if the other person has given clear signals that they are not interested in any kind of sexual relationship, you have some dignity and decency, and you stop pestering them.

        The accusation against Domingo is that he did not stop when he was clearly told to stop. He did not stop with unwanted touching and he did not stop with putting pressure on women to get involved with him.

      • Z says:

        How does “grope breasts so hard that it hurts” fits in your “started with a flirtatious comment, asking for a phone number, a touch on the hand or knee and trying to get a kiss” categories? Lier. Just keep making excuses.

  • double-sharp says:

    At last someone not angling for a fake damages claim.

  • John Rook says:

    Wise words from this excellent lady. I had no idea she’d been appointed in Lisbon. Good for her.

  • Yes Addison says:

    That hardly qualifies as contesting the allegations or the accuracy of Angela Turner Wilson’s recollections.

    If she said she often observed Angela Turner Wilson and Domingo together during the Le Cid run, and Wilson was the one who always had her hands all over Domingo, that would be contesting them. If she said she frequently talked with Angela Turner Wilson and she had nothing but glowing praise for Domingo’s personal conduct, that would be contesting them. Matos specifically says she doesn’t want to get into the specifics of other people’s cases.

    The comments of Matos and Tomowa-Sintow are more of what we’ve already had from several sopranos and mezzos, boiling down to “He never did anything to me personally, and he’s a great singer, and I like him as a person.”

  • Thinking aloud says:

    Elisabetta Matos makes a valid point about innocent until proven guilty.
    Not like the vindictive comments, based on rumour and hearsay, made by some of the contributors to this site.
    A retired high court judge stated recently “ no person should be tried without proper investigation.” And that includes Placido Domingo.

    • SpareMe says:

      Not a court of law. It’s an HR Issue. He’s a liability.

    • V.Lind says:

      HE’S NOT BEING TRIED. Get your minds out of court.

      Why is this woman so much more credible than the many who claim otherwise? This is just picking sides.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      If Domingo thinks he has been mistreated then it is for him to go to court. He has chosen not to contest the claims, and has withdrawn from the Met and LA Opera (perhaps to try to salvage what remains of his reputation).

  • Victoria says:

    Matos, having performed the entire run of “Le Cid” with Domingo and Wilson, most likely is quite aware of the “dynamics” between the cast members. She must have been quite confident about what she said, otherwise she wouldn’t have said it in an interview with the press at the start of her directorship at one of the major European opera houses.

  • SpareMe says:

    Lol. You bunch of idiots ever heard of an HR department? Innocent until proven guilty is in a court of law.. groping women and using YAP programs as a harem is a fireable offense- welcome to the rest of the world, Opera.

    Oh and spare me the bullshit “but where is the evidence” I have two eyes and ears, and have seen it first hand.

    Besides, any “general director” who hired their fucking family to direct ought to be fired for that alone… Especially when they are the least qualified candidate for the job.

    Let let his art live in our memories, because what he has been doing to the Verdi rep, coopting baritone roles (badly) bc he can’t give up the stage is sad.

    Know when to leave.

    And if you don’t work in this business, take your opinion and shove it where the sun don’t shine, because you don’t have a dog in this hunt, and you don’t know fuck all about what people have to put up with in the business, from these dilletantes.

    • Meghan says:

      SpareMe is the right name for such nonsense.

    • Stuart says:

      Yes, a lesson in how to persuade people to agree with your point of view.

    • Liz says:

      Clearly you are biased and hate Domingo. You need to go for anger management classes. The audience are paying for the tickets, not you. They have the right to hear him if they want to.

      • TiredOfLies says:

        Liz, my thoughts EXACTLY!! He’s spewing pure hate.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        “The audience are paying for the tickets…they have the right to hear him if they want to.”

        Er…employees have a right to be treated with respect by their co-workers. Your right to hear him don’t extend to the right of Domingo to abuse people.

    • Thinking aloud says:

      Whatever you think of Domingo your language leaves a lot to be desired. If you can’t make comments without using foul language it might be better to make no comments at all.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      I do work in “this business” and have for decades. If you worked for me, you wouldn’t for long.

      Please seek help.

    • MJA says:

      This to “SpareMe”: no, I don’t work in the business; presumably you do, but I wonder for how long if, as an audience member, I take my ticket money and shove it where you’ve suggested I shove my opinion. And as for the rest of your tone and language, I would give you and any institution that employed you a wide berth. Do tell us who it is.

      • TiredOfLies says:

        @ MJA…”SpareMe” is just so consumed with jealousy and hatred toward Domingo he can’t control his filthy mouth!! He’s full of B.S.

    • TiredOfLies says:

      @ SpareMe…YOU’RE one of the jealous SOBs!!! It’s SO obvious…really quite funny to read your rant. GET OVER IT and stop your B.S. You’re sounding like the fool you are!!

  • sycorax says:

    My grandmother used to say “I’m sure there’s a special hell for women who stab other women in the back.”

    I can’t hear this idiotic “innocent until proven guilty” anymore because people who use it always oversee one thing: If they declare (more or less) that Domingo is innocent, they more or less insinuate that the 21 women who accuse him of harassment are lying. And that makes me wonder: What about their innocence?

    In short: This “innocent until proven guilty” is a construct which only works in a court of law, but certainly not in the “real” world.

    Another nonsense I don’t want to hear anymore is this “But he behaved always the perfect gentleman with me”. For heaven’s sake, even Jack the Ripper didn’t kill every women he met! The fact that Domingo didn’t try it with every women – well, perhaps some of them weren’t to his taste?

    • George says:

      I don’t think it is as black and white as that. He probably flirted (or did more) with a lot of the women who defend him, too. Some enjoyed it, some probably told him off but still like him. What they have in common is that to them he is a gentleman. These women have a right to express their thoughts and experiences without being accused of stabbing other women in the back. After all they were closer to him than most people.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      “In short: This “innocent until proven guilty” is a construct which only works in a court of law, but certainly not in the “real” world.”

      Absolutely, let’s lynch ’em. Lynch ’em now and lynch ’em high. Problem is, they may lynch you next. And there will be no discussion. Nor pity.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        LA Opera has going through a disciplinary investigation. Their judgement will be on the balance of the evidence (and not “innocent until proven guilty”). Deciding “on the balance of the evidence” after a thorough investigation is not “lynch ’em now”.

        It is rather curious how Domingo didn’t want to stick around while the investigation ran its course, don’t you think.

    • TiredOfLies says:

      @ sycorax…You are one sick woman!! And, btw, Domingo IS innocent!!! There, you’ve heard it AGAIN!!

      • Saxon Broken says:

        That is why he resigned from the LA Opera, hoping to stymie the investigation into his conduct. It must have been a shock to him when they decided to continue with the investigation anyway.

  • Victoria says:

    Matos has said to the maximum one could possibly said about the matter, and in my opinion, a quite clear rebuff to Wilson’s accusation. How can you expect someone to give direct negative proof to something that did NOT happen as alleged?

    The main takeaway from her words is not about the presumption of innocence, which certainly should have been respected by the American opera companies, and regrettably has not, in the case of Domingo. What is really important is that Matos was no less than one who had been in the run of the performances. Now as she has become the Artistic Director of Teatro San Carlos, she has joined Christina Scheppelmann to be another female leader of a major opera company. Both were present during the time of the alleged happening, as “insiders” as possible, and both came out speaking. In doing so, they put their own reputation and credibility on the line. They most certainly were serious about what they said.

  • Thinking aloud says:

    The contributors who complain that “innocent until proven guilty “ in respect to Placido Domingo are right, this is not a court of law matter.
    What they fail to say or realise is that Domingo is being tried by social media, the press -especially in America- and sites like Slippedisc.
    Until the investigation by LAOpera is published there is no knowing whether the accusations against him are true or not.
    So until the investigation is completed, whatever your opinion, he is innocent until proven guilty.

    • SMH says:

      Well reasoned words, but LAO is a non profit entity and as such cannot be seen with someone who is damaged like Domingo now is. Even if half of the allegations are disproved it is not enough to exonerate him in the non profit world. Perhaps state supported opera companies in the EU can take a wait and see approach, but I don’t believe that’s possible in the USA due to the nonprofit nature of all opera companies. I believe it ends up having less to do with presumption of innocence and more with the optics. 20 accusers is a lot and there are many others who are attesting to Domingo’s catting around. He brought this upon himself, sadly.

    • SpareMe says:

      I saw it happen with my own eyes. I heard the voicemails. They used to play them at parties. It was a running joke. Great party trick.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      “until the investigation is completed…he is innocent until proven guilty”

      No, that is not true. The investigation will consider “the balance of evidence” when they make their decision. You are confusing civil and criminal proceedings.

  • Mauricio Szwerdszaf says:

    If one is afraid of a casual touch of private part, they should immediately get out of Opera. Opera is passion and sometimes in the passion of the singing a male star may touch your breasts. Opera is a full body contact art. Go sing recitals by yourself. No one will touch you there.

    • Yes Addison says:

      A man who plays passionate characters on the stage simply can’t help himself from grabbing women’s breasts offstage, sticking his hands down their skirts, using key codes to enter their dressing rooms uninvited and unannounced, and pressuring less powerful colleagues to have sex with him?

      If it were to come out that a tenor you like had also thrown women to the ground or choked them offstage, would you say that that’s to be excused, since Otello does those things?

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    It appears that some people and their behaviour can garner respect from others after all!! Well, who’d have thought??

  • Emil says:

    Where’s the “disputing the allegations” part?

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