Domingo faces Berlin pickets and ovations

Domingo faces Berlin pickets and ovations


norman lebrecht

January 17, 2020

First reports from last night’s Traviata at the Staatsoper on Under den Linden say there were a number of women picketing peacefully and handing out leaflets in protest against Placido Domingo’s appearance. 

The matter had been raised earlier in the day at the Berlin Senate, where Culture Senator Klaus Lederer pledged to ‘exchange views’ with the State Opera director in due course.

Inside, there were ovations, albeit nothing like the recent eruptions at Salzburg and Milan.

More here.



  • Marina says:

    I was in Staatsoper on Under den Linden yesterday. There were only 5 protesting persons. Their leaflets were in garbage immediatly. People didnt want to read it. All spectaculars were happy to see Domingo on stage and made him a great standing ovation.

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Understanding the underlying basis of human nature is a first step to process traumas and neuroses. An interesting theory was proposed by Dr Heinrich Pudor, a great name in naturism philosophy, vegetarianism, and other panaceas to live healthy and morally, that can help to explain some of the #metoo problems in the opera world – abdominal breathing contributes to the growth and stimulation of the sexual organs, which would have been the reason why opera singers, who particularly resort to abdominal breathing, can at times behave in an inconvenient way. Of course, conductors have no such excuse.


    • Heini says:

      More about Heinrich Pudor here


      ‘Im Ersten Weltkrieg und in der Weimarer Republik geriet P. wegen seiner hemmungslosen antisemitischen und rechtsextremistischen Propaganda in Konflikt mit der Justiz.’

      ‘ Er wurde allerdings nie Parteimitglied. P. war seit 1918 immer wieder mit dem Vorschlag in Erscheinung getreten, man solle die Juden durch Pogrome wie im zaristischen Russland zur Auswanderung bewegen’

      ‘ P.s Stellung zum Nationalsozialismus blieb ambivalent. Einerseits befürwortete er die Judenpolitik des „Dritten Reichs“, andererseits übte er Kritik am Führerkult und am Alleinherrschaftsanspruch der NSDAP’

      Why would you bring up the theories of a guy like this? And here of all places?

      • Pianofortissimo says:

        People have no longer a sense for humor in these days. Bad. Pudor’s ridiculous scientific theories are no more absurd that much that is going on in Academy now a days. By the way, H. Pudor died in a Nazi concentration camp, if I remember well.

    • Peter Freeman says:

      With respect, there is no such thing as abdominal breathing. Breathing is from the lungs, but has to be thought of as if it comes from the abdomen in order to activate the all-important diaphragm below the lungs. Both diaphragm and lungs are located above the abdomen.

  • Elina says:

    I saw these protest and got a their shameless leaflet. As I remember not 5, but 3 women were protesting.
    Domingo is great in spite of his cold yesterday. Standing ovation. So proud that German people are smart, respect opera and Domingo and don’t support this shameful community ( don’t remember its name).

    • Judith says:

      People are unable to realize that when one has such huge talent, be it opera singers, artists, writers, etc. they are not your ordinary people. They have huge personalities, struggles and sometimes the tensions need outlets. Domingo was always a womanizer. Women fell at his feet. He did not need to ask. Come some women and try to tell us how much they suffered from him 30 or 40 years ago is ridiculous.

  • Commentator says:

    The recent publication of a book in France is said to be the start of a Me Too movement there. In time, attitudes surrounding abuse of power and consent will likely continue to evolve throughout Europe. The presence of protesters in Berlin is evidence that attitudes are already shifting.

  • sam says:

    Am I the only one sick and tired of seeing Placido’s face on this site. He is so yesterday’s news. Move ooooooon.

  • Opera-goer in Berlin says:

    Domingo gave a wonderful performance, got big ovations for the act 2 Germont-Violetta scene, bigger ovations for his aria, and then long thunderous ovations for entire cast at the curtain calls. The young conductor Thomas Guggeis was announced on stage after performance as being appointed Staatskapellmeister, well deserved and he was congratulated by all on stage. All artists looked happy together with an appreciative audience. That’s what an artistic performance was supposed to be like. And last night it was just that. Bravi tutti.

    About the protest, an offense to all the artists of the performance, not to mention to Domingo, also an offense to the audience coming to the performance. There were no more than 5 people of them – a clear evidence that their foolish behavior is not gaining approval. However, that won’t stop “certain sections of the media” (Norman’s words) from exaggerating it. By the way, what an amateur review.

    I echo the sentiment already expressed by many in this forum. Activists, media, politicians, stop meddling with Domingo’s performances. There are still so many who want to hear him and see him perform. Just leave Domingo in peace for him to make music.

    • V. Lind says:

      I appreciate YOUR “review” of the occasion as I do not read German well enough to manage the linked review and I read English too well to fathom Google Translate.

      But I disagree with your conclusions. There is a burden of feeling that Domingo’s behaviour has been a source of discomfort to an awful lot of people. You can blame the media and the MeToo movement all you like, but in your heart of hearts you have to acknowledge that the major houses of America and the major orchestras would not have withdrawn their invitations to him to participate based on two newspaper stories.

      Nor would he have given up a job he had more or less created, in a company he loved, without dispute if he had not had something to be worried about. An innocent man would have sued for breach of contract, and protested, and fought back. He left the Met with a whimper, not a bang, and Phillie, San Fran and LA without a sound. He forfeited a lucrative and apparently life-enhancing career in the US with little more than a mumbled version of “I thought it was consensual…” — which is shaping up to be The Harvey Weinstein Defence.

      A handful of protesters will not have spoiled anyone’s evening. If everyone else on that stage was half as good as you say PD was, La Traviata will soon have absorbed them in its own magic. I imagine Bill Cosby was also very funny at the concerts where increasing numbers of people protested outside, while hundreds of stalw
      art deniers laughed themselves silly inside.

      I’m sorry, but it is not the activities of a few protesters, or the reports in a couple pf stories, that have convinced me that there is no smoke without fire here. It is Domingo’s own response. And I have said all along that, given that he has been accused of no crime but rather of workplace harassment, and the workplaces have dealt with it by getting shot of him, he is free to pursue his career and his life anywhere he is welcome.

      But that is no reason for those who feel empathy for the aggrieved, or who feel aggrieved themselves, should be silent. Your call to let Domingo carry on and for those who enjoy him to be able to do so does not trump the right of free protest over what many see as bad behaviour. A small protest outside an opera house does not seem to infringe on anyone’s “rights.” merely to assert them.

  • Ingrid says:

    A number of women? You could count them on one hand – exactly 5 women were protesting.

  • Nonna says:

    These protesting women are definitely sick and mad. I say them I don’t want to get their leaflet as it is a bull shit. One of them began to cry on me and even pushed me away.

    I came to the opera with friends to enjoy the production and Domingo. And these protestors don’t respect people who came to the opera. They don’t respect artist, musicians as well. What a shame that such community is still exist.

    Domingo was marvelous. I didn’t note his cold affected to his singing. Hope he will have the same great success everywhere there he sings.