Washington National Opera maintains three-monkey stance on Domingo

Washington National Opera maintains three-monkey stance on Domingo


norman lebrecht

February 25, 2020

Placido Domingo was artstic director of Washington National Opera from 1996 to 2010.

Accusations of sexual misconduct that took place in that time were not acknowledged by the company management. Today, after AGMA endored some of those charges and Domingo apologised,  WNO has issued a statement pretending it knew nothing, saw nothing, did nothing.

Washington National Opera (WNO) is grateful to the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) for undertaking its investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination made by AGMA members against Placido Domingo. WNO looks forward to joining an industry-wide coalition—including Opera America, other opera companies, staffs and artists, managements, and other stakeholders—that is being formed to improve workplace culture and create best practices in the opera field.

Washington National Opera and the Kennedy Center have zero tolerance policies with regard to harassment, discrimination, or abuse of any kind, and we take any and all allegations very seriously. Our goal always is to ensure that all of our artists and staff can work and thrive in an environment of safety, trust, support, creativity, and mutual respect.”

Timothy O’Leary, General Director, Washington National Opera

Francesca Zambello, Artistic Director, Washington National Opera

Deborah F. Rutter, President, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts



  • Paul Dawson says:

    Somehow, the internet slang MRDA springs to mind.

  • Calvin says:

    The WPO was the epicenter of the worst of Domingo’s behavior but perhaps they think that, in the pussy-grabbing world of DC these days, they can imperviously get away failing to even stick their head above the parapet to mumble a wan “mistakes were made” statement. Instead, the WPO issues a meaningless meringue of a statement that actually pats themselves on the back. Amazingly tone deaf.

    • emil says:

      Even worse, the Patricia Wulf episode literally took place at the WNO. How they don’t immediately launch their own inquiry into what happened on their own premises is incomprehensible

    • MWnyc says:

      I’d suppose that Washington National Opera’s number-one concern right now is to avoid getting sued.

      Under American tort law, giving a straightforward apology is generally considered an admission of fault — which would mean conceding at least half the argument to the other side in a lawsuit.

      That’s why statements from organizations in situations like this are so often of the wan “mistakes were made” variety.

  • Caranome says:

    it’s pure pap demanded by lawyers. Any hint of apology means “we are guilty” or wrongdoing would invite suits and demand for (lots of) money, both legitimate and ambulance chasing types. Don’t ever forget in the ridiculously litigious US, bad women abetted by greedy lawyers are not above trying to cash in on the victim cash wagon.

  • Karl says:

    It knew nothing, saw nothing, and did nothing because nothing happened. But now that we’re in the age of rape hysteria women are finding that making false accusations makes them heroes.

    • Emil says:

      Karl, who hurt you? You’re now saying that even Domingo lied about the harassment happening, given that he admitted it publicly.

      • Karl says:

        Domingo never said he harassed anyone. Because he didn’t. You are just twisting his words. That’s a common trick that is used in fake news.

    • Calvin says:

      Again a post-truth standpoint. there is an independent investigation, an admission, and Domino’s prior voluntary agreement to pay $500,000 that says otherwise.

  • Phillip Ayling says:

    It is fantastic that so many organizations have zero tolerance for any kind of abuse, discrimination or harassment. So I guess those things all disappeared about the same time as polio.

    At least any and all concerns are taken seriously… unless you are a Chinese Doctor reporting that you think a new and deadly virus is on the loose.

  • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

    Perhaps an outreach concert on Rikers Island with Harvey and the Gang?

  • George says:

    So tired of these Blabla statements from U.S. insitutions that all have the same wording, i.e. copy -paste.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    Three monkeys in Washington D.C.: those would be Trump, Barr, and Pompeo, right?

  • Gustavo says:

    Here comes the five-monkey stance.

    DT’s secret National Anthem:


  • Calvin says:

    And where is the story about Domingo agreeing to pay AGMA $500,000 to keep the findings bottled up (and is similar hush-money why we have not heard about the results of the LA investigation)? Curious that the New York Times way out ahead of SD on this. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/25/arts/music/placido-domingo-sexual-misconduct.html

  • Bruce says:

    There are those who are so convinced that nothing happened, that even video captured on surveillance cameras would not convince them.

    Consider the ample number of comments on the infamous Ray Rice case (American football player who knocked his then-fiancée, now his wife, unconscious in a hotel elevator and was punished by the league — reluctantly — only when the surveillance video was released). He hits her lightly on the arm; she slaps him; he punches her in the face and knocks her out. Therefore, in the eyes of some, he was defending himself against intimate-partner violence, not perpetrating it.

    (I’m not posting a link to the video; they’re not hard to find.)

    If there was video of Domingo performing any of the actions described by his accusers, it’s a safe bet that his apologists would find a way to convince themselves that he wasn’t doing what he was doing.

    • Karl says:

      I don’t doubt that Domingo flirted with women and propositioned many too. But that’s not harassment. And it’s certainly nothing like the ray Rice case. Next you’ll be comparing him to Hannibal Lecter.