Domingo’s latest withdrawal is blamed on virus and his age

Domingo’s latest withdrawal is blamed on virus and his age


norman lebrecht

March 10, 2020

The Hamburg State Opera has announced that Domingo will not, after all, be taking part in Simon Boccanegra on March 22 and 26, followed by April 2.

The statement reads: The withdrawal was made on grounds of medical recommendations in regard to his age and morbidity, which increased the risk of infection with COVID-19.

UPDATE: Berlin has also cancelled him.


  • Gustavo says:

    Yes, the so-called cojones virus.

  • Ruben says:

    Domingo is worse than a virus. I am eagerly waiting for the day he retires, so I don’t have to see his creepy entitled face all over classical music and opera websites.

  • dee miner says:

    Anyone musical found suffering from morbidity should be put to work in a mortuary or hospital archive. there are just as many stiffs there as you’ll find in the average opera audience

  • Victoria says:

    Most sensible decision. Hamburg just had 35 new confirmed cases. Domingo and other traveling musicians should not risk health during this period of time. The well-being of performers and audience should be the priority.

    • Una says:

      Yes. You’ve made the most sensible and non-judgemental remark on here. The virus spares no one, with our own government in England now at risk after one of ours being diagnosed positive, not old and hadn’t been to Italy.

  • Peter says:

    Blame it on the virus… there always seems to be an “escape” for him, but only very naive people would actually believe that this is the real reason of his cancellation! What a pitiful ending…

  • Olga says:

    The Maestro is not a young man. much risk .and in Germany, the epidemic is already developing decently. In Moscow, all russians who arrived from Italy, Germany, Spain and France are sent to a 14-day quarantine, a strict home regime. And from China, Iran, and South Korea to an infectious disease closed ward. SO is not joke already. Today, I personally sent my employee, who arrived from Rome, to home quarantine.

    • Dee Miner says:

      There’s an almost equal risk to public health from the virus or PD’s singing these days. If audiences really want to protect they should self isolate with their music device of choice and listen to recordings of him in his (tenor) prime, when he could make you weep for joy and not from suffering. He’s proving resilient in this crisis as well as all others, like the teflon ex-tenor that he is – not much sticks, or so it seems

    • We privatize your value says:

      Exciting news from Moscow, that. Much more than Putin’s new lunacy, eh, Oleg? Speaking of old people:

      • Olga says:

        Иди к черту..Go to hell.. We may not like Putin a hundred times ,but we also hate your America with your moronic @meetoo.. You only want to hear bad things about Domingo here- you ‘re currying favor with uncle Sam? And we will continue to say -that you are crazy and ruining the culture of this rabid radical feminism. Untalented stupid women will soon rule your theaters – let’s see if they can replace you with singers and Directors of the level of Domingo

    • Entelequia says:

      That is this silliness of calling Domingo a “Maestro”? That is a word reserved for respectable people who have earned the trust and appreciation of others. Definitely not the case of this pervert who abused his power.

      • Joe Pearce says:

        Most senior male singers and teachers, as well as just about all conductors in serious music are called “Maestro”. It signifies either ‘master’ or in Italian ‘teacher’ (school teachers in Italy are called Maestro or Maestra, not Signor, Signora or Signorina). Pavarotti was also called that, although with less justification than in Domingo’s case, in interviews with musicians, as were Martinelli, Stracciari, and hundreds of other singers and even some singing coaches. It is not used to put them on an equal footing with Toscanini, Klemperer or Monteux, but simply as a term of profound respect for their experience and achievements in their fields of expertise. With Domingo, it even extended to his conducting which, while not the equal of its greatest practitioners, was certainly on the same totally professional level one would get from Gardelli, Guadagno and Oren, who made their entire careers in the pit. A Met Opera orchestra member said a few years back that of all the conductors he had played under in his lifetime, Domingo’s beat was the easiest to follow. Not a ringing endorsement necessarily, but not chicken liver either where conducting is concerned. He was a “Maestro”, indeed!

      • Michael VC says:

        A “Maestro” in classical musical circles is surely a conductor who has reached a very high level of skill as a conductor which is acknowledged and respected by those who work with him/her, especially orchestral musicians. From what I have read Domingo has not reached this standard and calling him Maestro rather than conductor is just ridiculous!

  • sam says:

    1) This is so risible! The fig-leaf of an excuse barely covers the shame of the reality: Placido has become a pestilence.

    2) “in regard of his age and morbidity”. Morbidity, according to the dictionary, means “the condition of being diseased”.

    So the official reason is, “in regard of his age and being diseased.”

    What PR genius wrote this? Must be the same PR genius that negotiated Placido’s $500,000 hush payment to the American opera union.

  • George says:

    If this goes on, I’m not sure Hamburg will perform at all. In Germany cancellations are a decision of the state (Bundesland). Bavaria has been the first to only allow events of less than 1.000 people.

  • Silversled says:

    Why is a 79 year old man ‘singing’ Simon Boccanegra anyway? It really is a bizarre situation that this once fine tenor simply cannot stop performing. He must have some deep inner need to keep going the way he does. I feel sorry for him, because now both his personal reputation and his artist reputation are in absolute tatters and it is a sad finale to a once glorious career.

    • Linda Stratford says:

      By most ‘educated’ accounts including SD, most of the new opera singers (and ‘conductors’) SUCK!!!!!

      The artistry of Bel Canto paired with full-bodied, vibrant singing with squillo is quickly dying off with the older singers of the 90’s who are CONSTANTLY worshipped both here and on YouTube.

      Most of the younger singers are put through immense challenges but obviously come up short and are ‘pushed through’ not unlike No Child Left Behind and Affirmative Action.

      Paired with the GARISH set designs, costumes and singers increasingly trashy behavior fashioned to SELL BOX OFFICE, opera is left with tireless comparisons to older singers who actually mattered due to their outstanding abilities.

      Further, the new conductors obviously aren’t educated in vocal techniques. They all seem limited to their orchestral confines but don’t “know voices”. The MET is the most obvious example of this vocal deficit even though the orchestra is happy, the vocal reviews tend to be quite flaccid…..

      That’s why.

    • Joe Pearce says:

      Well, one of the reasons may be that we don’t have any Verdi baritones anymore. Having seen him in baritone roles at the Met, he is not a convincing baritone (because he still sounds like a tenor singing low), but he still SINGS, and he doesn’t WOBBLE, and in an opera house where the nearest things they have to a Verdi baritone are the ugly-voiced Lucic and the awful Gagnidze, and where the one who might suffice (Kelsey) is so crummy as an actor that he makes Robert Merrill look like Feodor Chaliapin, we would still take Mr. Domingo, even as a tenor-based baritone. And since we judge all artists on their best work (does anybody judge Verdi by UN GIORNO DI REGNO?), Domingo’s artistic reputation will never been in tatters, absolute or otherwise, because he spent 40 years at the top of his profession as a tenor, and much excellent time as an administrator and conductor. Is Wagner’s ARTISTIC reputation in tatters because he was an anti-Semite? I think not.

      • Robin Worth says:

        Verdi baritones: how about Carlos Alvarez and Michael Volle?

      • Andrew Metcalfe says:

        Domingo is quickly ending up like Levine.

        They’re both just a couple of lecherous pariahs singers are too weak to challenge openly for fear of lost bookings yet nobody wants anymore.

        The MET’s board including Gelb clearly enabled and of course covered up Levine’s interest in young men for decades only until caught by the NYT. Suddenly Jimmy’s whole career went…POOF! Not unlike ALL the youthful players, tenors and basses who rebuffed his advances over the years. Unless you accepted his advances, no work.

        What’s Jimmy got now? No MET, no power…just “the strictly quiet financial SETTLEMENT.”

        Domingo’s own Spain turned on him and he’s running out of countries as the months pass. Only yesterday did the LA Opera’s law firm further assert his guilt along with AGMA’s recent findings including a fine.

        You don’t see Domingo or his WIFE defending his actions or going on offense; just like single Jimmy, do you??

      • W. Tell says:

        Mr. Pearce,

        There’s not much Verdi anything today since the most imminent teachers of that craft are all dead.

        There ARE a handful of known and older yet not well known voices today who have the fullness, ring and lush qualities of a robust Verdian voice but it is ONLY the commercially attractive, breathy singers who have been cast since the end of the 1990’s or so through present.

        The last truly great voice that comes to mind that I cherished is Aprile Millo. Woefully her age and current excessive weight immediately dismiss her from consideration by all General Directors and those in charge of casting.

        Age and weight discrimination continue to pervade the new era of opera no matter the gift!

        Alas, today’s mantra is newly educated and age appropriate (up to 30 or 40) equals “better” unlike old world teaching which PRODUCED greatness worthy of the art form. It’s all too quickly processed without substance when it comes to US schools for certain. Very sad.

  • Charles says:

    Hopefully they will get a baritone to sing the part.

  • Vecchio Babbuino says:

    At this point one must wonder if Placid Sunday suffers from some definable form of mental illness. What more does he need to know? How many cues must he receive to leave the stage? I once stood in the wings and watched the magnificence of this man. Mind you, I never wished to touch the hem of his garment or any crazy shit like that. He was no Luciano, but he was ok you know? He does not know he is old. He wants to die on the stage, and that’s just selfish and pathetic. It’s just not funny any more. BASTA PLÁCID SUNDAY!!!! BASTA!!

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    Did you create that headline deliberately?

  • Maria says:

    It’s quite understandable and at such short notice, and probably, rightly or wrongly, from all the adverse publicity, he will be more susceptible to anything old people can easly get . Surprised it all isn’t cancelled in the present coronavirus era, and with Germany’s approach to it all and the several closures.

  • M2N2K says:

    According to the conclusions of LA Opera investigation ( ), after interviewing 44 people they found ten of the allegations “credible”. They called Placido Domingo’s denials “sincere” and noted that they “found no evidence that Mr. Domingo ever engaged in a quid pro quo or retaliated against any woman by not casting or otherwise hiring her”. They are releasing no names and no details.

  • Olga says:

    They don’t read the Newspapers – they like the fact, there IS nothing against him except flirting and active curtsies to ladies