Just in: Placido Domingo pulls out of Tokyo Olympics

Just in: Placido Domingo pulls out of Tokyo Olympics


norman lebrecht

November 08, 2019

The organising committee of next year’s Tokyo Olympics has issued a statement announcing that Placido Domingo has withdrawn from a Tokyo 2020 Nippon Festival performance ahead of the Games.

Domingo was said to have pulled out due to the ‘complexity’ of the concert, which conjoins opera and kabuki performances.

‘After thoughtful consideration I have made the decision not to participate in the kabuki-opera event due to the complexity of the project,’ Domingo was quoted as saying.

No reference was made to his recent difficulties.



  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Nothing remarkable in this. Mr Domingo is well counscious of his artistic limits. He is a great tenor, a great baritone, but he is not a Kabuki singer.

    • Sam McElroy says:

      I agree with 2 of your 3 assertions. Domingo undeniably occupies a spot on the all time list of great tenors. One would have to be deluded to claim otherwise, whatever one’s personal preferences within the illustrious group. I will treasure his Otello with Kleiber forever. (Kabuki? I take your word for it!)

      And, for that very reason, he can not possibly be defined as a baritone, far less a great one. Anyone who thinks otherwise simply doesn’t understand the baritone voice and tradition: range, color and timbre, how the passaggio works, and how these factors influenced the way in which composers wrote for the baritone voice and created that aesthetic tradition. That is why there are so many sub-categories of baritone (light, cavalier, dramatic, helden, unemployed etc.). For example, in the Verdi repertoire, the key of D flat Major avoids the troublesome E natural in the typical baritone passaggio (where the voice transitions from open to covered), allowing an open E flat to transition to a covered F, which, in turn created an aesthetic, Verdi tradition and style – which Domingo obliterates (see “Di Provenza”, “Pieta, Rispetto e Onore”, etc. etc.).

      Usain Bolt is (was) measurably the world’s fastest 100m runner. He can’t become a mile runner because he doesn’t have a miler’s physiology. The same principal applies to vocal fachs (categories). Only, instead of a chronometer we must measure with our ears, based on the traditions and practices of the art form. To those about to hit the thumbs down button, just go online and do a lengthy comparative listening session, with real baritones like Bruson, Warren, Lisitsian, Cappuccilli, et al, as references. If you still hit the thumbs down button, it’s time to check those ears!

  • Olga says:

    Thousands of fans support Placido Domingo..a month ago, Russian fans on change org “Stop the persecution of Placido Domingo” launched a petition http://chng.it/Pt4ZCNP6 , which was signed by many Opera stars, including Ildar Abdrazakov. And such an authoritative publication could support this fight against injustice, and not continue to weave the false hysteria of American fanatics to the name of Domingo

  • JPAULO says:

    From all we have heard the past several months it doesn’t seem like “pulling out” is something Mr. Domingo would embrace.

  • Lynne says:

    I think that’s the equivalent of “leaving to spend more time with his family”.

  • Victoria says:

    A message by someone from Japan I just read. Hope it is okay to share here with link to the source provided:

    “Japanese people love Maestro. Even when the earthquake happened, Maestro rushed quickly and held a concert. He delivered music to us who faced difficulties and gave us hope to live. We Japanese love and appreciate Maestro. He is a noble person who wants and runs people to live in peace. He is worthy of the spirit of the Olympics. I pay maximum respect to Maestro’s decision.

    #ISupportPlacidoDomingo #StandbyDomingo”

    Link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2306366096121796/permalink/2480459802045757/

  • Olassus says:

    “due to the complexity of the project”

    What a great reason. People should always be specific like that.

    “due to the acoustics of the hall”
    “due to the egotism of the conductor”
    “due to the gracelessness of the passport-checkers”
    “due to the incompetence of the marketing”
    “due to the length of the rehearsals”
    “due to the litigiousness of the society”
    “due to the ridiculousness of the staging”
    “due to the slowness of the visa process”

    • Alexander says:

      … due to the call of duty 😉
      PS I just wanted to say he needs to pay more time teaching others ( like Kiri ) , presiding his really wonderful Operalia, managing the miscellanious businesses he owns etc 😉
      Operatic stage is an addiction and one should get calm before growing up a dependency on it

  • George says:

    It didn’t take long for Domingo’s sycophantic worshippers to rush to his defense here. They always do. It would be nice if his victims had similarly committed advocates for their side.

    • Karl says:

      People who care about men’s rights aren’t sycophantic worshipers. Human rights are men’s rights, and men’s rights are human rights.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Bravo, Karl. I was watching “Inside WW2” the other night and looking at the scorched corpses on Iwo Jima I kept thinking about ‘white privilege’ and ‘the patriarchy’. Didn’t those American marines know how lucky they all were? How blessed by nature and circumstance. PS: Didn’t see any female corpses in the endless piles.

        • Maldito says:

          And you, Sue, seem like the kind of person that would get some satisfaction from watching female corpses. Such is your hatred towards women.

      • Kay Langford says:

        You don’t have to demonstrate, or work hard to promote your rights when you own everything, have control over everything, and have all the power in the society to begin with.
        Giving up omniscient power is seen by some as losing their rights.
        Equal rights for all means just that.

    • Victoria says:

      Those “victims” are self-claimed, mostly anonymous while two named ones having been exposed as lack of credibility with historic contradictory words. Besides, they had AP and MeToo gang as their advocates, or more precisely, co-conspirators.

      • George says:

        Right…So the Associated Press sends its highly-credentialed reporters into opera houses where they ensnare Domingo, tricking him into harassing or assaulting young women backstage. That’s what reputable news agencies do.

        I’d like to see your evidence that the self-identified victims have been “exposed [for] lack of credibility.” You’d stay anonymous too if someone like Domingo could turn around and ruin your career in a phone call or two.

      • Calvin says:

        Show us one scrape of information that is discrediting about the named accusers.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        You need to understand that #metoo is the militant wing of anti-Trumpism – that it all arose precisely at the time of Trump’s election. It might have actually started BEFORE he was elected – as indeed did all the other wars against Trump.

        • Pianofortissimo says:

          Who was the Amerikan President who got criticised for calling female WH personel ‘sweeties’, and nobody today seems to remember that?

        • V. Lind says:

          Trump hasn’t had half the wars against him that he deserves. While investigators are going after HRH the Duke of York for ties to Epstein, which certainly bear investigation, who is going after the Donald? In a recent TV doc about Epstein and the Prince, there was much more footage included of Epstein and Trump than the one or two shots, used again and again, of HRH.

          Just one of many, many highly credible suggestions that the President of the United States is the poster boy for inappropriate behaviour. But in puritanical America, which is blamed for bringing Domingo down, this clown gets away with everything, to rousing cheers. I never cease to be amazed by the ignorance, vulgarity, resistance to reason and decency, the illogic and the rampant willingness to put your own country and the world at risk because of the moron’s idiot shenanigans.

        • Saxon Broken says:

          Sue SF writes: “You need to understand that #metoo is the militant wing of anti-Trumpism”

          How bizarre. It existed before and it will exist after Trump. He really has very little to do with it.

      • V. Lind says:

        The MeToo “gang”? No secret where your sexual politics lie. Any woman who has been sexually abused gangs up with others for the sole purpose of inconveniencing men. And, of course, historically reputable news agencies flock to support them.

        Another example of the brilliant thought processes that brought you Trump’s America. Pick a side and let reason fly right out the door.

  • anon says:

    Smart choice, he doesn’t really want to be booed, or chanted to “Lock Him Up”, live in front of a billion TV viewers.

    • V. Lind says:

      Thank you for posting that. I think there is an attitude in that article, but there are also a few new nuggets of information, which I intend to ponder as I re-read it and check a few things.

    • Calvin says:

      Herein lies the premise of the article: “But, for the sake of argument, let us assume that he let slip, even now, an appreciative glance or ambiguous compliment.” But that is not what is being alleged, only what the author conveniently assumes while building a straw man case that the response is outsized. The author concedes that “If persistent enough, such advances feel and may become harassing” but depite the reports of repeat unwanted advances — and widespread reputation for the same — the author fails to consider that harassment is precisely what is at issue here. Finally, while citing only matter decades old, the author conveniently fails to consider the independent third-party investigation addressing more recent behavior in LA.