Washington strips Domingo of title

The Washington National Opera has just taken Placido Domingo’s name off the young artist development programme he co-founded.

It’s very little, too late, quite pathetic.

Statement from Washington National Opera

(WASHINGTON)—In 2002, while Placido Domingo was serving as Washington National Opera’s (WNO) artistic director, he created an apprentice artist development program for the company, the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. WNO respects and acknowledges Mr. Domingo’s singular artistic legacy and contribution to the opera field and to WNO. Mr. Domingo stepped down from his post at WNO in 2011 and has not been active with the company or its apprentice artist program in the years since.

In light of recent developments, the company today announces that going forward, WNO’s apprentice program for early-career opera singers and pianists will be called the Cafritz Young Artists of Washington National Opera, retaining in the name The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, which has generously supported the program for nearly two decades. WNO commends the outstanding partnership and continued generosity of all its supporters, including the Cafritz Foundation.

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  • What would be a lot? Shoot Domingo in front of the Washington Opera house or burn him in front of Los Angeles? You are a nation of hypocrites..you are all midgets compared to Domingo..his bullying – will go down in history not as a disgrace of Domingo, but as a disgrace to the sanctimonious hypocritical Puritan America.

        • To Norman’s point, the Washington National Opera’s reaction and statements have indeed been nothing short of “pathetic.” Is their PR team totally tone deaf? The attempted guile embroidered with self-congratulation does not come close to disguising the obvious strains of mendacious insensitivity in these statements. Do they really think they are fooling anybody and not compounding the problem? Astonishingly inept.

    • Olga, how would you feel if Domingo had sexually assaulted YOUR daughter? Or YOU? Would you be in a big hurry to defend him?

      Nobody is suggesting Domingo be shot or killed. He is receiving just treatment in response to his actions. Americans don’t like to be sexually harassed in the workplace. I’d bet that most European women don’t like it, either: their problem is the lack of sufficient political will to support them.

      American women have fought long and hard to even have workplace sexual harassment acknowledged, let alone punished. That is hardly puritanism: it’s called a step towards equality. For the sake of females in all industries, I hope other nations will eventually shed their outdated attitudes about what is and is not appropriate in the workplace, and that their laws will finally support a harassment-free work environment.

      • The more apt question is “Olga, how would you feel if Domingo [asked YOUR daughter what she was doing tonight]? . . . I don’t think many parents would lose sleep over their daughter having the kind of interaction with Domingo that constitutes the great majority of the claims — still denied and unresolved — against him.

        Perhaps we should ask “How would you feel if YOUR son was fired, defamed, and made unemployable because of charges not even fully investigated yet, for which no findings of liability have been made”?

          • All I saw there was “women accuse..”

            I loved the tone of “you know better”. Such tut-tutting worthy of Mary Whitehouse and her vanguard of puritans in 1950s England – or the Victorian era.

            The more things change the more they remain the same.

            Priceless. “Are you now, or have you ever been…….?”

          • I read comments of a creep, not a sexual molester. I completely discount the story of him slipping a hand down the accuser’s skirt – that is battery and should have been reported.
            I am sick of this #metoo bullsh!t. He is a creepy asshole and that is ALL. Take him to real court, not the court of public outrage.

          • Gigerlette, I think you are new to this conversation. Everyone in this thread has their position and we’ve been commenting for weeks on this topic. V. Lind, David Hilton, Sue Sonata, Bone, We Privatize, and even the insufferable Larry D. We listen to each other, we debate & we are aware of most aspects of the case. Everything you’re saying has been debated here before.

          • And? I think Gingerlette’s postings nevertheless important because she brings things to the point – better as I could do because she’s obviously a native English speaker.

      • Gigerlette — clearly, the answer/s to Olga’s daughter would be:

        • He is a great artist and therefore a great man; therefore he could not have done what you said.
        • If he did, you should be grateful for the attention.
        • If it upset you, you need to grow up and accept that this is how the world works. (“How the world works” includes answers 1 and 2)

        • A more worldly response would be, “my daughter, in your lifetime you are going to encounter men who’s intentions are less than honourable (shall we say). It’s up to you to set the standard, apply the polite refusal and do nothing whatsoever by way of encouragement – visible or audible – to attract that kind of unwanted attention. If you do want it, that’s an entirely different thing and you’ll accept responsibility for that”.

          Something along those kind of grown-up lines.

          • Oh yeah – and all the money you’ve spent for the singing lessons and your daughter studying in another city – it’s gone because in refusing a “star” she’d made her career going down the bog.
            You’d get her back home, without a job and without any chances to live her dream of becoming a singer.

            There’s one thing you refuse to get: In the times when Domingo was most active the young women in the opera didn’t stand a chance against him!

            I remember well: In 1980 I was a music student and spent my summer on a tour with “Carmina Burana”. And there it happened that the soloist flirted with me. He did it nicely, but nevertheless I got first a kind of “panic”. I spent a sleepless night thinking about how I’d refuse him so he wouldn’t try to get me in trouble.
            Later it showed it wasn’t a problem – he was (and is – we’re married now) a real gentleman. However, I’d gone through such situations before, I’d seen friends going through. The atmosphere in the scene was like that: As a youngster you shouldn’t make any trouble – and no one asked if you were “guilty” on making trouble or not.

            Heavens, even nowaday it’s difficult. Munich’s conservatoire had a big scandal only a few months before – one professor and the rector were accussed of harassment, groping and even rape in more than one case. 34 students were witnesses against them – and in all cases they were for some time silent while they feared they’d never get a job in the scene by accussing these men.

            Now think anew – what would you say your daughter when she’d come home, saying “I’ll probably lose my job at the opera because I refused the avances of the star”?

          • Yes, that would be a more worldly (and compassionate) response than anything Olga sounds interested in. Hopefully it would be a conversation to have before the daughter left home for school; conservatories are not pristine in this regard.

      • Why do you persist in collapsing all of the categories of offenses you’re certain PD committed into each other? Some are criminal, others inappropriate, virtually all unproven. Sexual assault, harassment, unwanted advances, workplace misconduct are not one in the same! Charges of sexual assault have not been substantaited!

        • “Unproven” – that’s one of the key words in all these cases.
          During my career in music, advertising and journalism I was more than once harrassed, but I’d only once a witness (a friend of mine was in my flat and listened to the communication between my boss and me. He’d come in the middle of the night with a bottle of cheap champagne, saying it would be time I’d stop “playing”. I’d never played, but I’d tried already for two months to come away from his blatant attacks). Normally such things happen between just four eyes – and so it’s always the victims’ problem that they don’t have “prove”.

          However, in Domingo’s case we have two dozen women and a few witnesses. To say it’s “unproven” is just like saying “They’re all liars”. It’s not proven in front of a court, but only because no one sued.

      • Don’t speak for “Americans”. Americans’ opinions differ greatly! And there are many millions whose opinions are much different than yours, Gigerlette! Advice: watch Kavanaugh confirmation again and learn!

      • I’m entirely with you except of one point: The situation in Europe is changing, too. That it doesn’t show when it comes to the Domingo case is just, that our opera scene is rather conservative and with a lot of old dinosaurs who haven’t gotten that the times are changing.

        • No, Europe isn’t different because it is OK to harass women in Europe. Rather, Europe is different because an employee with a contract can not be fired without cause.

  • This is all going too far. Stop. What’s next? Shall we hold “book burnings” where people can bring all of their cds, albums and associated Domingo memorabilia to be incinerated?Should his Grammy awards be returned? It’s getting ridiculous.

    • This is the ‘problem’ as I see it. In the late 1960s the contraceptive Pill arrived; it was a free-for-all for both men and women, exemplified by the naked women rolling around in the mud at Woodstock and smoking dope. Women thought they could have it all, and do it all. And they did, selling their souls in the process.

      Then along came 3rd wave feminism and declared there were new rules. Nobody bothered to tell men about it, that’s all.

      • So simple?
        I don’t think so. I’m born in the sixties, belong to the first generation who had free access to the pill – and nevertheless I didn’t sleep around and my girlfriends didn’t either.
        I dislike your generalisation of “women”. Neither then nor today they’re a homogenous mass. And men are either. Even my father who’d been born in 1918, knew the rules and that the times had changed.

  • This reeks of removing Rhodes’ statue, which I have never approved of.

    While I have never doubted that inappropriate behaviour to women took place, I have equally maintained all along the immensity of Mr. Domingo’s contribution as artist and philanthropist. And certainly as a nurturer of young talent.

    This sort of thing is unnecessary. He was adjudged to have committed workplace offences, and workplaces acted. But revisionism is ridiculous. Artists’ names have not been removed from halls where they were honoured since Nureyev and Baryshnikov and Makarova defected, and their pictures were taken down.

    • It is not revisionist to rebuke a serial sexual predator and remove honors previously bestowed. It’s an appropriate gesture towards those who were abused. Moreover, every so-called “apology” issued by Domingo has either been walked back by him or his publicity machine, or besmirched by quid pro quo, such as with AGMA. I think all those who are clutching their pearls about Domingo should give it a rest. He’s not hurting for work, accolades, or money. You are 100% welcome to enjoy his recordings and work in the privacy of your home or another venue where his egregious behavior is being conveniently overlooked. When predators are punished, their activity may be stopped. And since Domingo shows zero remorse and precious little acknowledgement of his acts, the only way to prevent him from abusing further people is to simply not allow him in the door. Organizations who value a harassment-free workplace, or at very least aspire to that goal, will not hire him or honor him anymore. It’s their prerogative. So relax. Nobody is trying to pretend he didn’t exist.

      • Gigerlette, having seen Domingo two years before I don’t think he’d still up to harass women. He’s now a rather frail old man, fighting with some health troubles.

        However I think it’s important to show the world that behaviour like his isn’t acceptable, that women have the damn right to be “safe” at their work places and that harassing them doesn’t go unpunished.

        He was a kind of “model” for young singers, an idol – and he enjoyed this. Just “forgetting” what he’s done in the past would be like saying “If you’re the star of the show you can behave like a pig – it’s okay, others have to accept it.” It’s not okay. It’s never okay and no one, not even the big star, has a right to handle women as Domingo has done.

    • To all who are unaware of Rhodes’ statue and the controversy surrounding it, Rhodes is a former PM of the Cape Colony, a British colony in what is now known as South Africa. An ardent imperialist, he stated in his will that the Anglo Saxon race was, “the first race in the world”. He actively sought the political marginalization of black South Africans and is widely acknowledged to be an early architect of Apartheid. So, you know, a really great guy. JUST the kind of guy who would be appreciated by someone who cares more about opera than women’s safety.

      • I have not seen your name before today. If you are new here, you may not be familiar with my participation in the Domingo saga from the start. I have supported the women from the get-go and among other things have fought the ludicrous argument by some that because he is a great artist — which neither I nor anyone in their right mind would dispute — it was all okay.

        I have supported his removal from work environments that all too many claimed he made toxic, and fought deniers who claim he was a perfect gen throughout on the grounds that I cannot believe that the orchestras and opera houses of the US were prepared to cut loose a megastar without a damned good reason. AND that they knew better the facts of he cases than his demented and rabid denier-devotees.

        That said, I do not see the need to remove his name from everything he has ever done. Let alone burn his CDs. Pretending does not work. It did not work pretending that he was a nice man to work with. It does not work pretending that he has not contributed immensely to opera, and other things.

        Similarly with Rhodes. He was an imperialist, of his time, and, yes, felt that white people were superior to others. (An attitude embodied in the mighty white Trump White House). But he did an immense amount to open up Africa. He was an entrepreneur whose legacy resonates to this day. He had a vision of the Cape-to-Cairo railway. And he left Rhodes Scholarships — fancy renaming those, too, given who funds them? — that have no racial criteria.

        People are complex. They have (aside from Trump, who has yet to display a virtue I can admire) good and bad elements to them. Rhodes was not EVIL. He was racist in a time when most people were. “God is an Englishman” is still not an unknown attitude. Nowadays, racism only happens one way apparently. African recipients of Rhodes Scholarships apparently see no contradiction in accepting them and campaigning to get the benefactor’s statue dismantled in Oxford.

        (I lived in the Far East and I can assure you that the belief that whites are superior to anyone does not even come close to the belief in the Middle Kingdom about THEIR superiority to everyone else).

        It’s a bit like Wagner, who was being discussed recently. To hear some people, you would think he had devoted his life to anti-Semitism and clearing the way for The Final Solution. I hope that does not make those of us who think he is one of the greatest composers who ever lived into some sort of anti-Semites.

        Getting back to PD, I have always supported workplace solutions to the workplace problem. But I don’t see the need to try to pretend he was never there — and doing some good — which is what WNO seems to be trying to do.

      • Your comments sound like they came right out of Pasternak’s “Doctor Zhivago”. The Comrades will help you with ‘safety’, that’s for sure.

        Recommended reading if you want a life of ‘safety’.

  • Like I’ve said before, it’s the Red Scare all over again. MSNBC host Chris Mathews just walked off the set last night and quit after being accused of flirting with women too many times.

  • “We were told that we needed to use violence to destroy a class, spiritually and physically. That was justification enough for torturing someone. They weren’t considered human anymore. If they were the enemy, they deserved to be strangled to death, and they deserved to be tortured. This was the education we received… the Cultural Revolution brought out the worst in people and the worst in the political system.”
    Xi Qinsheng, former Red Guard

    • Don’t you think comparing the mild rebuke of a person who has committed countless acts of sexual predation to the atrocities of the Cultural Revolution is just a TAD melodramatic? Oh no! The very rich famous man doesn’t get his name on a sign anymore! Boo hoo! Why, it’s just like the faceless millions who were tortured and killed for Red China’s political agenda! #not

      • Why do you persist in collapsing all of the categories of offenses you’re certain PD committed into each other? Some are criminal, others inappropriate, virtually all unproven. Sexual assault, harassment, unwanted advances, workplace misconduct are not one in the same!

        • It’s victim porn; you obviously don’t get that. Never stand between a victim and her perpetrator/government/employer/media/cohort. The list is long!!

    • Yes, but you’d have to know SOMETHING about history to understand any of this at all. Sadly this isn’t a feature of modern education so dummies think history started when they were born. It is sad because they cannot move past their own sense of outrage. Meanwhile, back at the base, people are forming successful businesses and dealing with all sort of problems (which are never heard of in your imagination, Horatio) and ploughing on regardless.

      • Is that your dumbed down version of “dreamt of in your philosophy”?

        Shades of having to change the title of the first Harry Potter novel so it would not put off Americans…

  • Sexual harassment charges or not, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to remove Domingo’s name from the event if he hasn’t been involved in it for the past nine years. It was founded when he was director; he’s no longer director and isn’t necessarily entitled to have his name on it forever. The Cafritz foundation is entitled since it’s their money that makes it work.

    • ^^^^^This. Institutions have to look to their futures. Regardless of the current controversy, Domingo hasn’t been involved in the young artists program – or the company as a whole for nearly a decade.

    • But are you sure the Cafritz’s “are entitled” to have their name on it forever though? Perhaps one — or both of them — some time in the past 40 years asked a performer what they were doing after the performance too? Or whispered something in someone’s ear? Just to cite two of the juicier charges still being circulated against Domingo.

      • (a) MacroV didn’t say, or imply, “forever.” As long as their financial support stays in the present tense, though, they’re entitled.
        (b) why not launch an investigation? You can always drop a suggestion to that reporter from the Yellow Associated Press who broke the Domingo story. After all, if they’ve done nothing wrong then they have nothing to fear, right?

    • What’s the end? Concentration camps? In South Park a few seasons ago they had all the men locked up in caves to donate sperm and write jokes – because women aren’t funny.

      • Your hysterical extrapolation from punishing a sexual predator directly to concentration camps is kind of cute. If only you had so much vim for the rights of victims of sexual predation.

        • Why do you persist in collapsing all of the categories of offenses you’re certain PD committed into each other? Some are criminal, others inappropriate, virtually all unproven. Sexual assault, harassment, unwanted advances, workplace misconduct are not one in the same!

        • You keep calling Domingo a sexual predator because various spineless cultural institutions have deemed him so; how do these groups – Or you – get to be judge, jury, and executioner? The court of outrage is led by insipid villains.

        • “If only you had so much vim for the rights of victims of sexual predation lying women who made false accusations.” There. FTFY.

          (If you care to go back in the history of this blog a bit, you’ll see what I’m talking about.)

  • Stupid, self-righteous, virtue signaling Americans, primarily but not exclusively from the political left, are the greatest hypocrites and ungrateful pricks in the world.

  • NPR reported today that a senior official of the AGMA union, responsible for the investigation of Domingo, revealed details of the investigation to the press – specifically to Joceylyn Gecker, the AP journalist who 1st broke the story – while it was underway. This was in direct violation of the mutual agreement between the union and Domingo’s lawyers to keep the findings and the resolution confidential.

    This “senior official” is none other than baritone Samuel Schultz, the same individual who succeeded in securing felony convictions against Paul Daniels and his husband for sexual assualt in 2019.

    Although he was on the AGMA board which commissioned the investigation and was well aware of the confidentiality stipulation, Schultz has admitted publicly that leaked details of both the investigation and the proposed settlement to AP reporter Jocelyn Gecker, who published the story on Feb. 24.

    This Feb. 24 story by Gecker is what I believe forced Domingo’s hand. He made the apology which effectively brought him down. He was deceived. He was promised confidentiality by the AGMA.

    There was an agreement in the works that would have benefited sexual abuse survivors. Domingo’s lawyers walked away from that the minute they saw that the confidentiality clause had been violated. AGMA has made it clear that Schultz, acting illegally and in violation of his position an AGMA board member, blew both the investigation and any potential settlement out of the water.
    And reporter Jocelyn Gecker and the AP should be held just as responsible for publishing results of a confidential investigation and destroying any possibility of a resolution.

    Samuel Schultz resigned today from the AGMA board. He has admitted that what he did was wrong. But somehow he isn’t being punished. And neither is reporter Jocelyn Gecker or the AP who were extraordinarily unethical in publishing that Feb. 24 story. They did so in direct violation of a binding legal agreement between the AGMA and Placido Domingo.

    We’ve spent so much time hearing people harp on AP’s lawyers and ability to defend themselves. Now would be a really good time to test that. Domingo’s lawyers should go after the AP.

    So perhaps now Domingo haters can see the complex underbelly of this witchhunt, and it is a witchhunt, against Placido Domingo. Samuel Schultz is complicit. The AGMA, unwittingly, because of Schultz’s actions, is complicit. Jocelyn Gecker has now proven herself beyond doubt of being complicit as is the AP.

    Domingo’s downfall isn’t just a random story by a morals-driven journalist in SF to reveal sexual abuse. It is a complicated web of extremely deliberate moves by vengeful actors who are driven by personal motives.

    I rest my case.

    Here’s the NPR story. AP never in a million years would have published THIS report. npr.org/2020/03/02/811233149/union-official-resigns-over-domingo-investigation-confirms-he-gave-media-informa?fbclid=IwAR1AOe5JrGeWHPBD6eniA-9z3IC8hakpN2oBPYk-eBtb1HZvWTmnSof-plI

    • Schultz knew what he did was wrong, but he felt the information needed to be out there, otherwise there would be a cover-up. He did the right thing.

      • Sure? He joined the board to fight harassment. Now he’s forced to step down because of actions from the past that cannot be undone (and that nobody ever reported to AGMA during the last 50 years apparently).
        Because of his actions he’s lost all his influence, and what is worse, he tried to do it anonymously, probably hoping to get away with it.

    • The entire issue here is that “the mutual agreement between the union and Domingo’s lawyers to keep the findings and the resolution confidential” involved HALF A MILLION DOLLARS IN PAYOLA. The so-called agreement would have done nothing meaningful to benefit survivors of sexual misconduct. It would have lined the pockets of AGMA, full stop. AGMA have a terrible track record for representing their members. I do agree it is regrettable that the whistleblower’s actions will make life harder for the victims. But that still does not justify AGMA’s willingness (eagerness!) to go after $500K in hush money. AGMA are supposed to protect artists, not alienate them. Further proof that AGMA is utterly useless.

      Also, are you trying to imply that Samuel Schultz is just some liar with an agenda to bring down powerful industry professionals? Because the US justice system does not agree.

      • “The so-called agreement would have done nothing meaningful to benefit survivors of sexual misconduct.”

        So what WOULD be a meaningful solution to benefit the women who have experienced sexual misconduct?

      • And we are stuck reading your bitter one line insults, Larry. Do you think you’re being witty, or clever or prophetic? Naw, you just sound like a really nasty, miserable person. Maybe YOU should rest your case. Or at least stop insulting people here. Pathetic.

    • Jocelyn Gecker or the AP did not and could not do squat in direct violation of a hush-money agreement between the AGMA and Placido Domingo. It did not apply to them. Indeed, it was their obligation to print the story. Or do did you think the obligation of the press is to print nothing other than than pablum served up to them in official press releases?

    • Bit selective in what you chose to give us, though perhaps fair enough because of the link.

      Sure sounds like a sweetheart deal to me, and I agree with Schultz that the Domingo camp should not have been able to buy secrecy. This story has been far too public for investigations to be kept secret.

    • Correction – No one has gotten felony convictions against Paul Daniels and his husband for sexual assault. They have been indicted, but not convicted.

  • The WNO is the resident Opera Company of the John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. I think it is about time that they removed Mr. Kennedy’s name from that building. Domingo is a puritan compared to that predator. Besides JFK knew absolutely zero about music.

    • Right. Whatever JFK knew about classical music began and ended with the soirees Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis organized at the White House.

      • I think that’s true enough. But he was extremely widely read, and interested in the arts in general — I can safely say that no Presidency since has had anything like the relationship with the arts that that one did.

        Kennedy BELIEVED in the arts. He said this in a speech at Amherst College: “I look forward to an America which will reward achievement in the arts as we reward achievement in business or statecraft.”

        Can you imagine that coming out of the mouth of one President since? Can you imagine a Bush — or the current thing — hosting Stravinsky and Bernstein and Copland and Casals, or talking the French into lending the Mona Lisa, or for that matter quoting Greek literature? Or inviting Grace Bumbry for her FIRST American performance to The White House?

        Have you any idea how many composers did pieces for Kennedy when he died ? (Bernstein had already composed one for an Inaugural gala). Whoever was the driving force, the Kennedy White House was a CENTRE for the arts, with every state visit and other ceremonials at the WH being celebrated by some major and serious artist present. (They also had a dinner for Nobel Prize winners — intellectualism was not a dirty word there and then). That’s why there is a cultural centre named for this President. And why there will never be anything except self-generated hotels and golf courses named for his latest successor.

  • Sure. Go ahead, pump another round into the corpse to show you’re among the good guys.

    C:>deadhorse.exe

  • Domingo apologized and was willing to pay 500.000. He’s been removed from most performances, his splendid career and work is in pieces.

    He did not rape anyone.
    What else exactly do these people like Schultz want?

    • Is rape the only sexual offence in your lexicon? I wish you people would stop mentioning rape. NOBODY ELSE HAS.

      if he was due to be fined if found guilty by AGMA, he should be fined, no matter who said what to whom.

  • That I don’t get is NL’s comment:
    “It’s very little, too late, quite pathetic.”

    He defended Domingo for weeks and accused the AP of a “take down”. And suddenly he is critical of Domingo?

    • I get it, because it makes everything so very “clicky.”

      The more NL can stir things up and throw light on the controversy, the more clicks and other “engagement” he gets, the more ads are served up, and the more $’s fill the coffers.

      Viewed through that lens, all of the seeming inconsistencies make complete and total sense.

  • History will remember Placido Domingo as one of the greatest operatic singers of the twentieth century, and rightly so.

  • What Domingo does is entirely his own responsability: if he is guilty of any crime he will be punished. It is not up to the self-righteous to take the place of the law. As Leporello has said, he was one of the very greatest tenors of the last century.
    His rival, Enrico Caruso, was , you will remember, taken to court for pinching the bum of a Mrs Robinson in the monkey house of the Bronx zoo. He received a small fine.

  • With all this conversation going on,— if that’s the word for what we’re having here,— I find it’s helpful to keep in mind that all the complaints we’ve heard about are in regard to Domingo’s role as an administrator: i.e., someone who actually has the power to sign (or not sign) a contract, not merely someone who can drop a hint to those in power, and possibly have some influence that way.

    Once somebody is in a position of authority over others, it’s no longer “flirting with colleagues.” Any suggestion to meet for a drink, come to my hotel room, etc., has the 800-pound gorilla of “I could fire you” behind it, whether it’s spoken or unspoken. And in the performing arts, everyone onstage (or in the pit) is there because they desperately wanted a career in this field. Whether the authority figure intends it or not, the underling must assess the risk involved in saying no — is the boss likely to be vindictive? has he fired people before, or mysteriously not rehired them after years of steady employment? am I likely to have trouble finding work elsewhere once people find out I’m not working here anymore? — and decide if they’re willing to take that gamble. The authority figure may be totally unaware of this, especially if they are male (and less likely to have faced such a situation themselves), and were a spectacular, standout talent from the beginning, obviously destined for great things. We’re talking about people who have to audition for a place in the chorus, not people whose agents negotiate their fee for singing Desdemona. If you’re not a star, work can be hard to come by; and if you don’t have an enormous ego confidence in your abilities, to risk losing work can be scary. The big star may not have ever had to look at things from that perspective, or not for many years.

    I’m willing to believe Domingo was not a predator, in the sense of searching out the vulnerable members of the company and taking advantage of their vulnerability. When he was “just” a singer, I’m willing to believe that women were throwing themselves at him constantly and enthusiastically (in fact I’d have difficulty not believing it). But once he became their boss, rather than simply their much-more-famous colleague, the balance of power changed whether he was aware of it or not.

    For what it’s worth, I believed Daniele Gatti too, when he, like Domingo, said he thought his sexual encounters were consensual and apologized for the harm he had caused. Maybe some of their partners truly were willing, and those women have not complained; maybe there was more “risk assessment” and going-along-to-get-along than either of them was aware of.

    (There’s another conversation to be had about how it’s possible for a man to go through life being utterly bone-headed about picking up signals, and why women have to be so good at pretending everything’s OK; but this post is already long enough.)

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