Breaking: Domingo is banned in Spain

Breaking: Domingo is banned in Spain


norman lebrecht

February 26, 2020

Placido Domingo has been dropped from Luisa Fernanda at the Teatro de la Zarzuela, by order of the Ministry of Culture.

This is the first action taken against him in Europe.

Here’s the Ministry statement:

Ante la gravedad de los hechos y tras las declaraciones de Plácido Domingo en las que asume la plena responsabilidad de sus acciones, el Instituto Nacional de las Artes Escénicas y de la Música (Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte), en solidaridad con las mujeres afectadas y haciendo efectiva esa responsabilida reconocida por el artista, toma la decisión de cancelar su presencia en las actuaciones previstas en el Teatro Nacional de la Zarzuela para el 14 y 15 de mayo próximos. En todo caso, las funciones de Luisa Fernanda se mantendrán en la programación del tearo. El INAEM y el Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte manifiestan su firme apoyo a las mujeres y el rechazo a todo tipo de acoso, comportamiento abusivo o expresión de dominación.

Given the seriousness of the events and following the statements of Plácido Domingo in which he assumes full responsibility for his actions, the National Institute of the Performing Arts and Music (Ministry of Culture and Sports), in solidarity with the affected women and making effective that responsibility recognized by the artist, makes the decision to cancel his presence in the planned performances at the National Theater of Zarzuela for May 14 and 15… The INAEM and the Ministry of Culture and Sports express their strong support for women and the rejection of all types of harassment, abusive behavior or expression of domination.



  • Charles says:

    Come on Royal Opera, stop burying your head in the sand.

    • Michael VC says:

      I think we’ll find that his recent apology will prove enough for Covent Garden. I was an ardent fan, but stopped going to any of his performances when he stopped being tenor and couldn’t make it as a true baritone. A strained face and a reasonably good stage presence was not enough. One can’t help thinking that, if he’d retired gracefully then, he might not have had to face the various allegations that have surfaced. Of course, that would not have minimised them in any way, but his decision to keep out there in the public eye almost as if nothing had happened must have infuriated his accusers.

      • Maria says:

        Of course he began his life as a baritone. And now at the end of his career, gone back to.singing baritone. Hes not the only one and won’t be the last.

        • Yes Addison says:

          He never sang any baritone roles as an opera singer until this elderly phase. Even when he was starting out as a young comprimario (when he was, by the date of birth he gives, late teens/early twenties), he was singing Borsa in Rigoletto, the Chaplain in Carmelites, Emperor Altoum and Pang in Turandot, Normanno in Lucia, Gastone in Traviata, the Simpleton in Boris Godunov, etc.

          Those are all tenor roles.

  • Olga says:

    Yes, that really just shoot him..maybe the hysterical @ metoo witches will finally be satisfied

    • Lynne says:

      He’s doing a good job of destroying himself.

    • mary says:

      Have you ever met a witch? We are gentle and loving and nurturing, seeking harmony with Mother Earth. Join us.

    • Emil says:

      Does your characterization of the “witches” who denounce the hurt caused by sexual harassment include Placido Domingo, since he’s now recognized that he caused harm, that his behavior was inappropriate, and that’s he is fully responsible?

    • sycorax says:

      Do you think it’s okay when women become harrassed at work? Where you ever in the situation?
      I was – more then once and I think the demand that one doesn’t must fear harassment (or even worse) at one’s place of work isn’t “hysterical”, but something like a human right!

      In the special case of Domingo: He certainly isn’t a “victim” of a witch hunt. It was – as it’s now said – widely known in the scene that he’s a womanizer of the not so charming sort and that he doesn’t respect a woman saying “no”. And by now it’s become clear that there was a kind of “systeme” behind his “scheme of prey” was rather perfidious.
      He stood away from female fans – well knowing that he couldn’t control them if they’d make a scandal afterwards. He stood away from colleagues on the “star” level, but he went for the young and vulnerable, the beginners who had to struggle for every engagement and who became daily showed that they were replacable.

      The AGMA made it pretty clear: Domingo abused his influence and power. He got young women to sleep with him because they were afraid he’d ruin their career. And indeed: The women who refused him were mostly never heard of again.

      His behaviour was far away from being the gentleman he always wanted to be seen at. And what now happens to him is certainly not a “witch hunt”, but paying for what he’s done – and he’s even lucky that most of these things are time-barred, so he mustn’t fear to land in front of a court.

      • Blablabla says:

        As a young a vulnerable colleague of PD I can tell you that he indeed behaves as a gentleman. I had some experiences with other men in power in opera business but Placido is actually the one who is not vindictive and respectful. He loves women, yes ( thank god someone still does !!!!) but he is not a predator …
        I’m amazed by all these comments which are written by people who have heard smth said by someone….

        • Saxon Broken says:

          Why do you think your experience of Domingo is the same as every other woman’s experience of Domingo? People are capable of behaving differently with different people.

  • Amelia Gorblimey says:

    Domingo will announce his retirement from singing within days.

    • Dee Miner says:

      Yeah, right…. somehow his ego will not allow it.

    • sam says:

      His voice already announced it for him a decade ago.

    • sycorax says:

      It would be better for him, but I somehow doubt he’s really gotten how “out” he now is. He obviously is kind of “addicted” to applause and to people telling him how great and wonderful he is.
      One could almost pity him.

      • Bruce says:

        I remember reading a Leontyne Price interview a long time ago where they briefly touched on her early marriage to William Warfield. She said something to the effect that, once you get used to praise and adulation from thousands and thousands of people, then coming from just one person it isn’t enough. (I would guess that after 150 years of marriage, Domingo’s wife is no longer a groupie, if she ever was…)

        It certainly looks like Domingo’s need for adulation (maybe not quite the same thing as a love for performing? maybe mixed up with it? complicated question) is greater than his need to maintain the high artistic standards that were characteristic of the first 100 years of his career.

        Lots of people quit when they feel they can no longer meet their own high standards; lots of other people keep going.

        • Maria says:

          They go on because they are being employed. Domingo can still conduct and teach.

          • sycorax says:

            Well, about his conducting … a friend of mine plays in an orchestra which he conducted. He says he’s one of these cases where musicians say: “If he goes on our nerves we’ll play what he’s conducting”.
            Just remember Bayreuth …

      • Mick the Knife says:

        Maybe he enjoys singing and acting, hearing the operatic literature?

      • Calvin says:

        The philosopher David Hume observed that one of the lowest of human passions is a restless appetite for applause. In Domingo’s case the “one of the lowest” ranking is certainly apt.

      • George says:

        I once told him I was sorry that he had to rehearse on his birthday.
        His answer was: “No, I love it.”

        Plácido Domingo is addicted to his work. And he will give 100% whether it’s a performance or rehearsal. We have no right to snub him for this.

      • Maria says:

        And more so, opera houses trade on his name to bring in pots of money when he sings. It’s not all about him.

        • Bruce says:

          True. The moment he stopped selling tickets, they would drop him like a hot potato. However, having now reached a biblical age, he will never stop selling tickets, so he’s going to be with us as long as he wants to keep singing.

          That’s OK. Nobody is being forced to buy tickets.

  • V.Lind says:

    Well, here’s a howdy-do. And without ANY public complaints from women who have worked with him in Spain — even under cover of anonymity? Gosh — could there be atmospheres inimitable to peace and tranquillity when PD is on the scene here, too?

  • Ed says:

    There are some mistakes in the Spanish document.

  • Mark says:

    Definitely not enough
    – let’s dig up Torquemada and have a good old-fashioned auto-da-fé. After all, not accepting the newly-promulgated articles of faith of the Blessed Sisterhood of the Perpetual Hysterical Victims is heresy !

    • Larry D says:

      You should get together with “Olga”. You both love applying that word “hysterical” to women complaining about harassment. Well, since the word derives from “womb”, I suppose it could be argued that all those hysterical witch-victims deserve it!

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Grievance Porn.

    • Kolb Slaw says:

      How inquisitive of you, and dead-on target. “It’s okay because we are (only) women.” I can’t wait until a “Me-Too” opera skewers their hysterical (literally) behavior.

  • Exit Stage Left. says:

    The remainder of Europe and the United Kingdom will follow suit shortly. It’s vital to observe that he is NOT the victim in all of this. If he had walked away 10 years ago, he could have avoided such an shameful end. His ego would not allow that, hence he will be remembered primarily for hanging on well past his expiration date. Don’t feel bad for him. Pity yourselves for treating his victims with such contempt!

    • Monsoon says:

      The blame also lies with organizations that used his celebrity to sell tickets despite the fact that the quality of his signing had declined, he’s a third-rate conductor, and they likely knew of some of these allegations.

      I’m not looking for heads to roll for the sake of it, just an acknowledgment that mistakes were made and an actionable plan to better deal with sexual harassment.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      You sound just like one of the stone cold comrades in Pasternak’s “Doctor Zhivago”. A role you no doubt covet.

    • sycorax says:

      That’s the point: He is not a victim! It was his decision to start this odd “baritone” stunt; it was his decision to deny the allegations as they came up; it was his decision that he tried to silence the AGMA investors with paying 500.000 and it was his decision now to publish this rather embarassing statement.

      For me the “case Placido Domingo” has shown how full of chauvinsm and sexism our scene is. And what really shocked me where the female Domingo fans who attacked his victims.

      My hubby said once that for him it was becoming father of a daughter which made him sensitive towards such things. By now he’s the grandfather of six granddaughters too and he says when he hears stories like Domingo’s victims tell, he always thinks on his girls (one of his granddaughters is a musician, playing in an opera orchestra). We both wonder if the people who “judge” about the victims and blame them don’t have any daughters, nieces, granddaughters or younger friends. And would they react the same way if he’d groped one of the girls they’re related to?

  • erich says:

    The only way I can conceivably imagine that he continues to perform is if he would donate all his future fees to organisations which support abused women.

  • Anon says:

    This is exactly why Spaniards seldom admit wrongdoing or apologize for their actions. I said this long ago in these Domingo threads. It’s an unfamiliar expression of honesty. It takes other Spaniards aback & they take it very seriously.
    Most Spaniards don’t admire this kind of honesty, they look down on it. You always hold your head high in Spain. Orgullo, or pride, is everything.

    The Ministry of Culture cancelled Domingo in response to his admission of guilt. Domingo’s hand was forced and he apologized, which is a logical but a completely un-Spanish thing to do. If someone actually admits guilt in Spain, it must be pretty bad. That’s why the Minister of Culture pounced on him. Domingo admitted his weakness, didn’t hold his head high. Showing weakness made him fair game.

    It’s truly a shame. Especially because it was to be a Zarzuela. Domingo has probably done more for Zarzuela than any other living artist. His roots and his soul are in Zarzuela. This must cut him to the quick. It’s a cruel and merciless gesture on the part of the Ministry of Culture, IMHO.

    • sycorax says:

      And once again: The women in the case don’t matter for you. It’s all about Mr Superstar and his feelings. That he hurt other people feelings, that he made women the object of his lust – you don’t care about.

      I can only repeat myself: Just think how you’d feel if one of these women he’d groped, called in the middle of the night (more than once), went into her wardrobe without being invited, kissed when she didn’t want him to, were your daughter or wife? Would you still only see him and his needs?

      No one, not even the biggest star, has the right to harrass women. No one has a right to make unwilling women the object of his lust.

      You know I’m a horse breeder and I sometimes watched what our studs do when they come to the mares. Especially the youngsters are almost “bursting” with their lust, however: They quickly learn to behave. The girls are pretty in kicking if one their males can’t wait until they’re ready. And the more intelligent of the studs don’t need more as four or five real kicks to learn their lesson and to behave around the ladies. I think for human males it should be possible to – without one has to kick them so you can learn it half a mile away!

      Domingo is now reaping what he saw – and in a way he’s lucky that the ladies waited so long that most of the cases are time barred. I’m pretty sure: If someone would behave as he’s done nowadays he’d be in trouble much earlier and probably in front of a court.

      • Anon says:

        Is being guilty a license to kill him? He’s been punished. He’s admitted guilt. How far, exactly, do you think this should go, Sycorax?

        Just like his victims he is a human being. Perhaps you are the one lacking compasssion and empathy if you have forgotten that.

        You assume that everyone who is defending him is male and that they must be reminded of their own “wives and daughters” to appreciate the victims’ point of view. Wrong.

        Sometimes other women can see both sides more clearly because they’ve been there and came out just fine. They might understand that punishment ad infinitum to a deluded, elderly artist isn’t a necessarily a fair price to pay for what his victims might have suffered.

        Its like a criminal who’s served his time. Domingo is being punished. He has had what’s dearest to him taken from his life. He lost his directorship of LA Opera, lost his big anniversary celebration with SF Opera, and every engagement in the US. He’s been demonized in the press, while his victims remain mostly anonymous. Now he is in his home country and it’s happening all over again, at a more devasting level. He has paid the price for what he did. But that’s not enough for you.

        He has admitted guilt. He has lost his employment and his reputation. And you, Sycorax, want to continue pounding away at him. Leave him be. His victims have their victory. He has paid the price for what he did. Now let the old man be, for God’s sake.

        • sycorax says:

          Where did I say I want him punished even more? Where did I “pound” on him?
          I think he’s got his punishment and it’s probably pretty hard on him. However: He reaps what he saw! He isn’t the victim of someone, but someone who did wrong and must now admit to it. Not more, not less.
          I think if he wants to keep the little what’s left from his dignity he should retire now. Yet his last statement showed that he still hasn’t gotten that his time is up. He still wants to perform, he still wants to be celebrated and he’s not willing to really take over responsibility. And that’s rather sad.
          Besides I do “pound” on him because I really feel ashamed by women who still defend him, falling in other women’s back with it. I’ve been there too, I’ve “fought” against obtrusive men, too. I came through, but nevertheless I don’t think it’s acceptable that women have to fight against harassment at their work places. I want women (and young men as the case may be) to feel safe in the opera too, I’m not willing to accept abuse as a part of “star’s privilege”.
          The case of Domingo should be a warning to other men: The times have (luckily) changed. Behaving like a predator, harassing women and making the objects of owns lusting isn’t accepted anymore.
          Domingo (and a lot of his defenders) see his behaviour as “boys are boys” and “typical male”. Sometimes one could even think they “adore” him for being such a “strong male” who just took what he wanted, not bothering about the feelings of these “hysterical” women.
          I think it’s really time men learn to respect women and their decisions. Even young singers (dancers, musicians, chorists) aren’t “available objects” for the stars. Even they have a right to say “no”, even they have a right not to become harassed.
          A late friend of mine was rather a womanizer too. He had many, many affairs, even during his marriage and though he was rather discrete – even I know that there were at least a dozen women in his scene with whom he’d been involved.
          These days someone asked me why I’m so upset about Domingo, but obviously didn’t bother much about this friend’s “colourful” love life.
          The difference simply was: With my friend I was sure that his partners exactly knew where they stood with him. He didn’t promise them something, he didn’t talked about love. And that makes the difference! His partners were on his eye level (mostly in his age group, too) and they were with him because they wanted to.
          What adult people do with each other on a voluntary base is not my business. But if there is abuse of power and harassment it becomes my case – as a mother and a (step)grandmother. It’s my responsibility to do what I can to make at least their working environment safe. And with some of my family (son and one granddaughter) being musicians the scene I look at the is music (and riding, because that’s the other field – and I can assure you: I’m “pounding” on the abusers there, too).

  • Karl says:

    That’s what happens – apologies get used as admissions of guilt.

    • sycorax says:

      What would he have to say until it gets in your head that he is guilty?
      You still seem to think it’s okay to harrass women.

  • Karl says:

    Off to Russia I guess. Join Dutoit. Has he ever worked with Dutoit before?

  • fflambeau says:

    A great talent (but so was James Levine). It would seem that with his apologies he has pretty much admitted to his actions.

    Bye, bye.

  • Nijinsky says:

    I heard Jennifer Aniston is going to sing the tenor role, is that true?

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    As Domingo basically conceded that the allegations were true, that the other companies of Europe may begin to drop him as well. He will join the likes of James Levine & Charles Dutoit.

  • Bill says:

    “banned in Spain” seems a bit of an exaggeration — he was let go from a current production, but there is nothing here to suggest that he cannot be hired by someone else.

    • sycorax says:

      Hmm … I don’t know the scene in Spain, but I should wonder if a Spain opera house would hire him despite of the ministery’s statement. And he said that he’s cancelled his engagement in the Theatro Real. Considered the rest of his statement I don’t think he did it entirely “voluntarily”.

  • Sergio says:

    Why so few comments? Where are all the misogynists and rape apologists that were defending Domingo? Where’s all the criticism against the Associated Press? Now that Domingo has admitted what he did, do you all not have anything to say?

    • sycorax says:

      For my taste we got enough of Domingo apologizers and “fans” here. And I’m really shocked about the women who still defend him!

      • Bruce says:

        I’m not. Women can be just as lacking in empathy as men.

        • Anon says:

          No. I think women who support Domingo are capable of empathy not just for the victims but also for Domingo himself.

        • sycorax says:

          Right you are. But nevertheless: I know hardly a women who was never harassed and I know hardly one who doesn’t know “fear”. I’m far away from being hysterical about, but just ask women how they feel when they go into the garage at night to get their cars and how they look around. Ask them how they feel when they arrive at a little train station in the middle of the night and there’s a bunch of men hanging around, whistling and looking. Show me one who’s never pushed a hand from her knee, who’s never became groped, who’s never was in a situation where a simple “no, I don’t want that” wasn’t enough.

          I just don’t understand women who deny that the danger of becoming harrassed and raped is much bigger for a women as it’s for a man. And I don’t understand how they can call other women “hysterical witches” or “liars” when they stand up against a man who obviously never respected women.

  • Anon says:

    He said “If I rest, I rust”. Soon, he’ll turn to dust.

  • George says:

    “The investigation concluded that Mr. Domingo had, in fact, engaged in ​inappropriate activity, ranging from flirtation to sexual advances, in and outside of the workplace.”

    If this is the result of the investigation, I look forward to them fireing the whole opera world male & female.
    AGMA does not declare him guilty of abuse of power nor damaging the careers of young singers.

    • Karl says:

      I know. They even cite him for activities outside of work. It’s none of their business what he does in his private life.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        That isn’t exactly true. Most workplaces will have policies about shenanigans outside the workplace where the parties have to work together during work time.

        • Karl says:

          Did the places where Domingo worked have those policies? And if they did were those policies enforced against everyone? It’s usually a moral killer when an employer starts telling employees what they can do in their private lives.

  • Kolb Slaw says:

    Talk about Cancel Culture. Now Culture is cancelling itself. What a degenerative move to have made. Shameful.

  • John G. Deacon says:

    This goes against all perceived public opinion in Spain and especially, without a trial, brings shame on the whole country.

    His recent appearances in Valencia indicated massive public support.

  • Peter says:

    He has just “striked” again with a new statement… in the same ridiculous manner. I feel like in a Mexican cheap soap opera!
    Although he took full responsability 2 days ago, now he is saying he is innocent – you got to be kidding us all!!!
    The ONLY way now to end this is RETIRE once and for all, have a little dignity, at least now! Otherwise his self-destruction is irrecuperable, it already overshadowed his career in the exact opposite way he was thinking to be remembered – counting all his shows and years and roles, endlessly counting…
    Enough is enough, Mr Domingo, it is time to GO if you want to save the very little dignity you might be still having.

    • Rudy says:

      Also, he has never mentioned that Mexico did a favor accepting his family when they left Spain, not a single ‘thank you’! He studied at the Conservatory there, but, no, he always emphazised ‘I AM a Spaniard’ Dreadful personality

  • George says:

    New Statement from PD:

    Plácido Domingo – México 2.27.2020
    I feel I must issue a further statement to correct the false impression generated by my apology in some of the articles reporting on the AGMA investigation.
    My apology was sincere and heartfelt, to any colleague who I have made to feel uncomfortable, or hurt in any manner, by anything I have said or done. As I have said it repeatedly, it was never my intention to hurt or offend anyone.
    But I know what I have not done and I’ll deny it again. I have never behaved aggressively toward anyone, and I have never done anything to obstruct or hurt anyone’s career in any way. On the contrary, I have devoted much of my half century in the world of opera supporting the industry and promoting the career of countless singers.
    I am grateful to all the friends and colleagues that, up until now, have believed in me and supported me through these difficult moments. In order to spare them harm or any additional inconvenience, I have decided to withdraw from my upcoming performances of La Traviata at the Teatro Real in Madrid.
    Furthermore, I will withdraw from the engagements in which theaters and companies find it difficult to carry out those commitments. On the other hand, I will fulfill all my other commitments wherever circumstances permit it.

  • Lynne says:

    This is the time when most men give up and say they are retiring to “spend more time with their family”. It’s time to pull the plug.