Just in: Vittorio Grigolo is fired – twice

Just in: Vittorio Grigolo is fired – twice


norman lebrecht

December 05, 2019

Within an hour of Covent Garden declaring that the Italian tenor had been found guilty of ‘inappropriate and aggressive behaviour’ on stage, the Metropolitan Opera announced that he would not be singing there again in the forseeable future.

The ROH said that his conduct at a curtain call in Japan ‘fell below the standards we expect of our staff and performers’ and he had been dropped from next year’s programme.

Grigolo was accused in media leaks of manhandling a chorus member, which he denied.

The tenor, 42, said in a statement: ‘I am truly saddened that my behavior towards everyone in the cast, people whom I have always respected and continue to respect from the bottom of my heart, was perceived to be below the Royal Opera House standards… It was not my intention to offend anyone… I recognise that my personality can be very exuberant at times and I am willing to make sure that what happened will not happen again in the future.’

UPDATE: Did the Met really need to fire him?


  • Lynne says:

    At least he took responsibility and said he would try better in the future. He didn’t try to play the martyr or blame the victims.

    • Anna Y says:

      What’s wrong with you? Do you know the meaning of the word victim? It implies significant suffering, emotional or physical trauma. In this case, it’s just ridiculous! Grigolo understands that. He apologized, because any adequate person understands that this is all complete nonsense. The apology in this case is a mere formality to appease the fanatics. Grigolo will work as he worked before. As for Mr. Domingo, Mr. Wulf’s accusations are ridiculous. He never touched her or interfered with her career. Mrs. Wilson’s statement is a lie. That was proved by a witness who was in the same room with her and Domingo that night. That’s all! The charges are over. The other women are madame Katz’s invention. Only their accusations look really serious. If they really existed, then in 3 months they could provide at least some evidence, except for gossip. But they are not. In two years of investigation, which AP and madame Katz purposefully conducted against Domingo, they found nothing! I understand madame Katz wanted the scalp of the most respected man in the world of Opera to satisfy her ambitions. Placido Domingo would be the pinnacle of her career. But she found nothing but two losers and a bunch of gossips. Enough already! The nightmare he had experienced during those three months of persecution, orchestrated by fanatical idiots, was far more serious than the operatic suffering of Wulf and Wilson. Domingo is the victim in this situation. These liars must either provide evidence or apologize. Basta!

    • david hilton says:

      That’s because he was guilty. The others, whom you implicitly criticize, have asserted that they were innocent. In neither case, are these accused men ‘blaming the victims’.

      • Novagerio says:

        He touched a fake belly, and when being rejected he just said “f*ck you!”. That’s what put him in trouble. He’s the pricky narcissistic kind, but that doesn’t make him a criminal, as little as it makes the chorusgirl a “victim”. The devaluation of the language is a dangerous thing and a very bad current habit.

    • V. Lind says:

      Or claim it was his “gallantry”…

  • Peter says:

    In the meantime, the self-entitled King of Opera aka Placido Domingo is allowed to sing Rodrigo (yet another baritone role for a non-baritone, now 84 years old) in Don Carlo at the Royal Opera House in 2020???
    Talk about discrimination or influence on (self-)casting…
    Did not really expect this from the ROH!

    • MusicBear88 says:

      Mr. Domingo is 78, he will be 79 in January. Please don’t exaggerate the facts.

      • Nik says:

        There used to be persistent rumours that his ‘official’ year of birth was out by a few years. Not sure if this question was ever fully resolved.

      • Peter says:

        He is 84 and will be 85 in January, as he was engaged at the Hamburg State Opera at the beginning of his career they have found his ID there – yeah, one needs and ID to get hired… the fact that he is trying for years to hide his real age is just another motive to see how desperate he is… people at 85 need to stop taking young people’s jobs and enjoy being old!

        • sycorax says:

          You’re right. Friend of mine knows him since the 70th and he’s seen his passport.

        • Novagerio says:

          While mentioning Placebo Domingo, he was a decade in Tel Aviv before going to Hamburg. If he really is born in “1941”, then he must have been the world’s youngest Cavaradossi, among other leading roles – and disregarding his first years as a baritone.
          Oh, he was by the a comprimario in Mexico in the early 60’s, singing among other things Gastone and L’Incroyable to Di Stefano and Cassio to Del Monaco. Not exactly a brainstorm, even for non-mathematicians (!)

      • Jane Ennis says:

        Fair enough, but it doesn’t invalidate the main point……this elderly man is being cast as a youg, dynamic hero, because…….well, why? Because he can’t reach the high notes any more? He wasn’t too bad as Boccanegra or Nabucco…..but when it came to Giogio Germont, I was impressed with his acting skills, yes, but he barked his way through the role with little expression or nuance.
        I mean, we could have had Ludovic Tezier!!!!

    • Anna Y says:

      Did Domingo do anything wrong or illegal? Do you have evidence to it? I doubt it. Even his accusers have nothing but rumors and wild fantasies

      • Saxon Broken says:

        His conduct was sufficiently bad to get fired. He didn’t contest that his behaviour justified this outcome. He accepted that his conduct was wrong.

    • Olassus says:

      That is serious miscasting! And an opportunity lost for (stolen from) some younger singer.

      Pure hubris on Domingo’s part.

      Rodrigo needs an ardent, energetic, firm sound.

  • Mike Gibb says:

    Is that the fake pregnancy bump at the root of the offence we can see behind him?

  • Nik says:

    So in practice he’s out of Lucia at the ROH and Traviata at the Met. Who’ll be the lucky stand-in?

  • Sam says:

    How can he be legally fired in New York, by the Met, for an incident committed in Tokyo while under contract with the ROH? Seems like some massive moral overreach going on here…

  • Anna says:

    Oh my God! It is obvious that Grigolo apologized because he does not want to go against the crowd of fanatics and lose lucrative contracts. He really has nothing to apologize for. His joke was stupid, but not offensive or aggressive. It is a pity that he apologized, making concessions to this senility.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      It’s the world (US) we live in. Plenty caved to McCarthy to escape the wrath of the tribunals.

      Truth be told, Grigolo is damned lucky to be out of the Met’s DOA Traviata.

      • david hilton says:

        And plenty of those who ‘caved’ to McCarthy freely confessed in public hearings to actual acts of espionage, since prosecution for their crimes was barred by a 5-year statute of limitations. Were there a statute of limitations any longer for MeToo offenses we might see a different result.

      • Araragi says:

        I think there was more to McCarthyism even than there is here. At least there some of those people actually were commies.

    • sycorax says:

      Just one question: if a woman gets raped – do you blame her too or do you only blame the women who get harassed?

      As a woman I’m ashamed of woman like you, backstabbing other women. For heaven’s sake, if I don’t want to be touched by a man, he shouldn’t touch me – just so simple! Not my coat, not a fake belly, nothing what’s close to me!

      Besides Mr G. is known for his “wandering hands” and I’m sure there was more to this incident as a bit of touching.

  • Qi'ra says:

    But have ROH actually said he won’t be performing in London again? Surely a written warning should be the first sanction?

    • Saxon Broken says:

      If you don’t know the full case (and you won’t know since it is confidential) then you don’t know if this is the first transgression, and exactly what transpired.

  • Karl says:

    Aggressive behavior? That’s ridiculous.

  • An opinionated person says:

    It’s bad enough that he grabbed and allegedly groped that woman. What’s even worse is that he did it in front of a lot of people. Not only is being grabbed a violation of your personal space, it’s humiliating to have it happen in front of others, especially your friends and colleagues. I have been groped in front of others (on a crowded subway). Besides feeling disgusted it happened, I was also just so embarrassed that others saw it.

    And unless the woman was in on it, what Grigolo did wasn’t just a joke or for a laugh. To be the unwitting prop for someone’s crass joke is humiliating and demeaning.

    So it’s not just that Grigolo grabbed this chorus woman. He also humiliated her and upset all this colleagues on that stage. He created a strained working environment with his childish, selfish, and sexist behavior so absolutely deserved to be fired.

    • Esfir Lebovich says:


      • sycorax says:

        Who said, she was? He groped her fake belly, yes. That’s not as worse as he would have touched a real belly, but it’s nevertheless a violation of her personal space.
        It’s a rather simple rule: Don’t touch when you’re not “invited” to it!

  • ThrownOutOfTheKremlinForSinging says:

    A prominent tenor named Grigolo
    Behaved like an ill-mannered pig-olo.
    He laughed, “I don’t fear;
    If it hurts my career,
    I’ll quit, and get work as a gigolo!”

  • LEWESBIRD says:

    The wronged parties here aren’t “victims”. Please. They’re “survivors”. Just how unwoke are you?

  • Alexandra says:

    Why is the Met punishing him for an incident that took place in Japan? Surely this was up to the Company involved to resolve. Who appointed the Met as Prosecutor? This was not a case of sexual harassment; it was a bad joke by Mr Grigolo, which clearly created a response that angered him and he behaved very badly. From what I understand this happened at the end of the performance, so no doubt fatigue and overwrought emotions contributed to the whole affair. Mr Grigolo apologized.What more would they have him do? He admitted he behaved badly. Why do we have to go without the pleasure of hearing his voice at the Met because of this? So he cursed, but he did not physically hurt anyone.
    This reaction by the Royal Opera and the Met seems extremely punitive, and makes me wonder if there is some other factor, especially since the Royal Opera is allowing Mr Domingo, who I should admit is my all time favorite tenor, to continue singing. Mr Grigolo has always given wonderful performances at the Met; he is a joy to watch and to listen to. In these difficult financial times, the Met should think twice about so easily discarding such a fine artist. I have seen the current production of La Traviata twice. I don’t love it, but I and my friends bought tickets to see it again, because Mr Grigolo was singing. No other reason.

  • Prod Stage Manager says:

    I worked with him during a tour of Japan. [redacted] He physically injured a chorus member bu “exuberantly” shoving him so hard that the poor man flew 10 ft and broke a bone. never reported in the news. he consistently belittled people and constantly hit on cast members. [redacted] His non-apology is in keeping with his never take responsibility persona.

  • Gion Polters says:

    Much ado about nothing