Just in: Domingo quits Covent Garden

Just in: Domingo quits Covent Garden


norman lebrecht

March 06, 2020

Royal Opera House Don Carlo Casting Announcement


The Royal Opera House and Maestro ‪Plácido Domingo have mutually decided that he will withdraw from the Royal Opera House’s upcoming performances of Don Carlo in July 2020. We would like to confirm that we have received no claims of misconduct against Maestro Domingo during his time at the Royal Opera House and are sympathetic of his reasons for stepping down. Plácido is an outstanding singer and artist and we are hugely grateful for his support and commitment over many decades.  We will announce the casting for his role in Don Carlo in due course.

PD as Nabucco at the ROH


  • Tomas says:

    Whatever Domingo may or may not have done, it will be dreadfully sad if this is how he goes out

  • Ms.Melody says:

    This is the kindest the classiest announcement yet
    How very sad
    I just hope his health holds out through this ordeal.

  • V.Lind says:

    If a single statement about him has been false, he should have fought it in court. That he has never accused anyone of lying about him is very telling. This action is a tacit acknowledgement that he can no longer function where there might be potential criticism. That he has managed in some European houses but cannot face it here raises some questions.

    • Ms.Melody says:

      I promised to myself not to get involved in any more Domingo discussions, so this is the last.
      Whatever he has done in the past and it was decades ago was not perceived the way it is now. 30-40 years ago he was an overly enthusiastic Latin man who showed more interest in women than some found comfortable. No more, no less. Nobody accused him of rape or violence. Times have changed. Today what he has done back than is considered a serious misconduct and the higher standards must apply going forward. Having said that, to apply today standards to 40 year-old behavior is not fair.He does not deserve to be annihilated, erased, repeatedly publicly humiliated. Even on this blog, there was talk about”Domingo’s serious crimes”, he was being called a sexual predator and equated with convicted rapists.
      He is no threat to anyone now. If he has any sense, he will retire before he is dismissed from everywhere. No theater management will risk keeping him on in the current atmosphere.
      He did try to apologize and to emphasize that he was not going to admit to what he had not done. Of course, it resulted in more backlash. He cannot win.
      It is time to go if only to save face, but even retirement will be misconstrued as further admission of guilt.

      • Maria says:

        And as a minority woman on here, couldn’t agree more. Strange how all these 27 complaining women are from America in one way or another.

      • Antonia Potter says:

        I, myself, was far better behaved as a teenager 40 years ago than he was as an adult 40 years ago. If he had an ounce of compassion towards his victims, he wouldn’t have permitted the Latin over-enthusiastic lover picture to apply to him. He could have chosen to be a gentleman 40 years ago like Jimmy Stewart or Gregory Peck.

      • sycorax says:

        Sorry, but my memory is rather well – and I remember: 40 years ago (I was 19 at this time and a student at the Stuttgart Musikhochschule) the manners in “flirting” certainly weren’t loser as nowadays. Of course, women had to be harder in the taking when it came to sexistic “jokes”, but when it came to the “rules of engagement” one expected more in matters of manners and galantery as the girls nowadays. And if a man would have been so “aggressive” as Domingo definitely was I would probably have been more shocked as girls are nowadays.

        The thing I find so perfidious about his behaviour was that he definitely used his position of power to get from women what he wanted. That shows a disrespect of women and their wishes which I find disgusting.

        And I’m shocked that there are still women out defending him!

    • IntBaritone says:

      This is such a dumb comment. Courts take time, money, and life from you. If, as you say, only a single statement about him is false, he will basically be subjecting himself to all of this over again in a court of law. If it were me, I wouldn’t do that.

      Besides, we all know Domingo was a Casanova. I don’t think that’s in doubt. What most of those who disagree with this situation feel is that this was not how this should have played out. There’s just so much anger in the world at this point, and everyone is a victim. It’s a great way to be seen, it’s a great way to feel important when you feel like your importance has been taken from you.

      An opera world without Domingo is a shame to many of us. And those of us that feel that way, will almost undoubtedly not see eye to eye with you on this issue. He is not James Levine, and this is not black and white.

      That all said, classy statement by ROH.

    • Karl says:

      It’s nearly impossible to sue for defamation and it takes many years. In 1964, the Supreme Court established that public figures would have a higher bar to prove libel than private persons.

    • David Hilton says:

      You can’t fight in court allegations that you asked someone what they were doing after the performance — the most often cited of Domingo’s ‘assaults’ — because all but one or two of them apart (e.g., grabbing a woman’s breasts), the acts of which he is accused fall miles short of being a crime in any jurisdiction.

    • M2N2K says:

      It seems like most of the commenters about Placido Domingo have answered all of the questions definitively – one way or the other – even before any of those questions were asked.

    • jack says:

      “That he has managed in some European houses but cannot face it here raises some questions.” About Domingo or about the British?

    • Sarah says:

      Put your hand on someone’s shoulder in some countries today and it’s classed as physical abuse. Domingo v 27 American women in court?

      • Debbie Smith says:

        By persistently cornering someone and asking them if they have to go home tonight as 1 woman alleged, is harassment, and that particular woman put her name to the complaint! Another cast manner saw what was going on and offered to go with her to complain to the management as a witness on her behalf.
        This is documented.

    • HugoPreuss says:

      And if a single statement about him has been true, the victim of his crimes should have brought him to court. That no one has ever done so is very telling. This action is a tacit acknowledment that these accusations would not not hold up in a court of law.
      Since when is the accused required to prove his innocence? Why has never ever anybody sued him for his alledged behavior? And why do you demand of Domingo that *he* should sue?

      • V.Lind says:

        None of the statements made about Domingo was about criminal conduct. Harassment is a workplace offence, and the workplaces dealt with it, by removing someone women did not feel comfortable working with.

        This can not all be about 40 years ago — the Met, the ROH and other institutions are not declining to engage him because of vague historical allegations MANY people have reported that he caused the working environments to be uncomfortable, that women were cautioned to avoid being alone with him, etc. That suggests that the problem has not entirely dissipated with age.

        As for him suing — libel and slander are not criminal charges. They fall under the civil tort of defamation. No, they are not easy cases, but someone watching his career unravel would, in most cases, act to put a stop to accusations. IF he had a case.

        Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
        Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
        Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
        ‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
        But he that filches from me my good name
        Robs me of that which not enriches him,
        And makes me poor indeed.

  • Paul Joschak says:

    Shame. He’s almost the right age for the Grand Inquisitor too.

  • Save the MET says:

    Domingo needs to cancel all engagements going forward. He should also stop adjudicating young artist competitions and find a place who is willing to take him ostensibly to teach male singers.

  • Hilly Gross says:

    Plácido is guilty of nothing more than the mantra we all lived by in the sixties,specifically that “there is no harm in asking”To now forty years later ,destroy his life and legacy in the ninth decade of his life with a torrent of anonymous accusers who have established nothing more than that he was excessively flirtatious is insanity.Even in the Salem witch trials there was a “trial”Speaking as one who has known and admired Plácido for sixty years I can only say without wishing to be dramatic “we are all Plácido Domingo”

    • Debbie Smith says:

      Domingo had been behaving this way since the 80’s and all the casts in the large productions just tolerated him. Some dodged him going out of their way to avoid being alone with him in the wings for example, where he was seeking them out. Make no mistake about this. He never bothered any big name co – stars this way, but rather., women in smaller roles, such as choir members that he harassed.

  • Cassandra says:

    Once Britain was my home away from home and ROH “my” opera house, much more so than ever Stockholm or Gothenburg.

    I remember (through tears now) stumbling out onto the streets of London some time in the late 80’s, all bewildered and starry eyed, after my first live experience of Domingo’s Otello (with Ricciarelli, c:Kleiber). And then again a few years later, with Dame Kiri.

    I don’t think I’m quite over it yet.

    – – –

    Only days after the AP-stories broke in Aug. Martin Kettle in the Guardian was quick off the mark throwing the first stone and the UK campaign has been going on ever since. You have seen it in here too.

    If you are at the center of such an onset, you might be able to hack it for some time if your work is behind an office computer. If delivering from an opera stage, it is impossible.

    From time to time we come across snide remarks of pampered singers. There is a reason for the velvet glove.

    Domingo’s appearance in July was foredoomed. It would have been a walk to the scaffold.

    It was a wise decision.

  • George says:

    They could have made them his official Covent Garden farewell performances. Keep the contract to honour his many years at the ROH, but stop hiring him again to honour the women’s reports.

    Fans + London audiences, who’ve had a long history with him would have had the chance to say goodbye.
    And the ones who would like to protest before the performance could also have done so.

  • Miguel Cervantes says:

    To quote another famous musician:

    Plaudite, amici, comedia finita est.

  • CRogers says:

    It is almost impossible for people to comment without prejudice. 99.9% of the of the interested population have no idea what has happened with PD numerous and various interactions with colleagues. But lots of people will read into it, what they can’t know. The problem with all of this is that anybody can accuse anybody of anything is this day and age and unless u have thorough investigations by each company its meaningless. It’s all public posturing by organisations.

  • mary says:

    Placido, take the half million dollars you were going to pay off the union with, and put it into a worthy women’s cause.

    That, along with a sincere apology in an interview with Diane Sawyer, will be a decent beginning to rehabilitating your image and rescuing the twilight of your career from a slow death.

    Don’t end your career with cancellation after cancellation by one opera house after another.

    It is a humiliating death by a thousand little cuts.

    • Cassandra says:

      If it’s money you’re after, mary
      for any particular cause of yours;
      I suggest you pull your posteria off the ground and start making some, under your own steam.

      It’s about time
      Mr Domingo stopped giving, giving, giving to each and everyone craving their own personal pound of flesh out of him.

      He owes nobody

      Expect NO further apologising and NO interviews with your pal Diane, or anybody else.

      – – –

      Watch talking so much about death, mary.
      You might just evoke it upon yourself.

  • Thinking aloud says:

    No doubt Placido Domingo would have taken some of his accusers to court, had he known who they were. Apart from two of the women who accused him, the rest remained anonymous. Press confidentiality of their sources meant their identities would not be known.
    It is very difficult to take anyone to court if you don’t know who they are.

    20/30 years ago what is now regarded as sexual harassment was called “flirting “. Plenty of men, and women, did it, and still do. As fare as I know flirting is not a crime. Nobody ever points out the sexual harassment Domingo has been subjected to during his 50 year career. Women are just as capable of sexual harassment as men.

    The Me Too Movement, started to root out sexual abusers, has become fanatical in its pursuit of men in positions of power. A fanatic has been described as “someone who redoubles his efforts when he has lost the sight of his objectives “.
    It is a sad state of affairs when a man alone in a lift feels the need to leave if joined by a woman, for fear of being accused of inappropriate behaviour.

    There has been a great deal of vilification of Domingo in many forums, mainly in the USA, but plenty on Slippedisc. Quite why the Americans are so self righteous about sexual harassment beggars belief when they vote men into power as President who are or have been sexual predators of the fist order -Trump, Clinton, Kennedy, Eisenhower, Roosevelt – have all had women on the side.

    There are claims that the sexual harassment accusations are irrefutable. The result of the inquiry by the American Guild of Musical Artists, disgracefully leaked to the press by a Vice President of the Union, found him guilty of sexual harassment and affecting the careers of these women. Nowhere in the women’s original statements did they claim this. Some said they thought it might if they refused his advances. One categorically started it had not affected her career in any way.
    Which begs the question how scrupulous was the investigation.
    Unfortunately the apology Domingo made and the following statement were not well worded and many immediately jumped to the conclusion he was admitting guilt. If read carefully he is admitting no such thing. But minds have already been poisoned by all the adverse coverage, and he is condemned.

    There are calls for him to retire. He should have retired as a tenor when he was at his peak. He should not be singing baritone roles, yet some claim he’s always been a baritone. Yes his voice is not what it was. But go to a performance and you see a great artist giving 150% which cannot be always said of the younger singers of today.

    Whatever people think the opera world would be a poorer place without the efforts of this man to promote opera and music to as many places as possible and to encourage young singers, whatever his shortcomings are.

  • dorset dick says:

    Posa should not be sung by a 79 year old for dramatic as well as musical reasons.

  • Ms. Melody says:

    The time will accord everyone their rightful place. Placido Domingo’s music legacy will live forever and Joselyn Gecker and the AP will not be even a footnote in history.

  • sycorax says:

    Separate from the “scandal” I think it’s better so musically. The last time I heard him he sounded terribly – short on breath, the voice breaking and no, he was never a baritone.