What Placido Domingo’s friends tell him as he turns 80

The Spanish singer will turn 80 next week.

He has been on the cover of a couple of music monthlies and he’s spending this week, his social media says, at the Teatro Colon in Argentina.

But that’s about it.

The world of Placido Domingo has shrunk to matchbox size since multiple charges of sexual harrassment at Los Angeles Opera were found to be ‘credible’ by an independent legal investigation. Domingo has never been charged with a sexual offence and is free to come and go, but his career is over in the US, as well as in the UK, France and Germany.

He is still welcomed at Salzburg and Vienna, in some Italian houses and in the authoritarian states of Hungary and Russia. That’s the world of PD as he turns 80, and he is absolutely making the most of it, trumpeting every appearance as if he is the Placido Domingo of old.

With each social media post and Moscow TV appearance he chips away at the reputation of the great singer he once was, destroying both past and future in his reckless appetite for applause.

 

True friends would tell him to lie low for a couple of years. Say nothing, do nothing. Wait for the post-Covid resumption of normality and then reappear as the Grand Old Man he deserves to be.

But Placido won’t listen, can’t lie low. He’s hooked on attention, can’t bear to be ignored.

And so the tragedy continues of a great artist who was brought down in a bonfire of the vanities.

Happy birthday, Placido.

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  • As has been said many a time before, the bigger problem surrounding Domingo is the enablers and others complicit in the man’s perpetuation. He, like Donald Trump, is an incurable egomaniac, both men blind to their bottomless, brazen ambition let alone their limits. So long as there others willing to do their bidding, they won’t go away.

      • Oh, yes, because fellatio in the Oval Office is the same level of importance as insurrection and murder in the U.S. Capitol….

      • Dear SSF!
        “…super seedy Bill Clinton”.
        always good for a dose of pathetic, infantile Whataboutism.
        Domingo’s defenders are a predictably tiresome bunch.

  • “But Placido won’t listen, can’t lie low. He’s hooked on attention, can’t bear to be ignored.”

    Just like his friends and opponents.

    • Domingo in his age cancels 1-2 performances a year. No more.

      For example Kaufmann at his 50 cancels about 50% of his performances.. Kaufmann almost can’t sing but he doesn’t want to retire .. he wants applause and bravo like many others..

  • Is there any idea why Domingo accusers don’t go to police or court? Weinstain accusers came to the court and now we know that he is guily.
    Why should we believe Domingo accusers if there is no any proof of their words?
    This way any woman can accuse any man without any proof.

    By the way US elect Biden as a Predisent, but he is women harasser. Many women accused him. Is that ok for US to have a women harasser as a President? Where is metoo? Why dont they destroy Biden career?

    • BIden is also completely corrupt, as is his entire family. And the election was fraudulent. Other than that Mrs Lincoln….

    • “Is there any idea why Domingo accusers don’t go to police or court?”

      Well most of them still works and was scared that they would be fired and not get to sing anymore if they went public or went to the police.

      • Patricia Wulf and Angela Turner-Wilson accuse Domingo openly. Why dont they go to police or court?

        As for women still worls at industry… Come on, Domingo doesnt have his power in US anymore. He doesnt perform there and he is not LA Opera CEO anymore. Nobody would fire these women if they would go yo court, but they dont do that…

        Any other ideas?

        • You are right. Today, they should be able to do it. PD is no threat anymore.

          However, the question is if he has done anything he can be charged with. Rape and assault are criminal but putting pressure on women to sleep with them are hard to prove. Probably there is a thing about the statute of limitations. Also, it’s not criminal to call young women late and try to have them come to an apartment late at night even if women who were subjected to this found it difficult. He was a big man who could open doors for them or leave them behind. It is surely unfair of PD to have put them in that position at all. What he did was morally wrong to do to coworkers, but not necessarily criminal.

        • In addition, in my opinion, #Meetoo is a lot about shining a light on the morally wrong pressure to agree to sex acts even if they are not criminal acts. Rapes and violence have a day in court. Women who get calls late at night or a whisper in their ears do not have that right.

    • Only because there is no proof doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen. It doesn’t mean PD didn’t do it just means it can’t be proven and that is not the same thing.

      PD has admitted to having relations with other women than his wife and how do you know who or if he pressured into having sex with him. You don’t know.

      • Why do you think these women say true? There are their words only.
        Probably these women harassed Dimongoto get roles, he said NO them and now these women want revenge.
        If PD had relations with other women that doesnt mean he harassed them. He has alwasy been a very attractive man and many sopranos harassed him to get roles.

        • In my opinion because that makeup and others had a system to make sure young girls didn’t end up alone with PD. That definitely makes for a strong case for him not acting the way he should.

          As I said. The fact that he could open doors for singers or leave them behind tells about that saying no was a hard thing for these women to do. And if PD pushed his agenda he did something wong. He shouldn’t have made sexual proposals to coworkers on the job at all.

          • No evidence Domingo has harassed anyone. I suppose he has flirted, but flirting is not a crime.

  • During lockdown I looked many opera streams and DVDs, including recordings of ”Macbeth”, ”Rigoletto” and “Simon Boccanegra” of many baritones whom I earlier heard live in Verdi. For example, I listened to at least one of these three operas per singer from this list (in alphabetical order): Alvarez, Hampson, Hvorostvsky, Keenlyside, Kelsey, Lucic, Petean, Piazzola, Salsi, Sulimsky, Tezier. I also looked “Boccanegra” with Gerhaher and with Maestri. Then I looked also Domingo’s recordings, expecting a disaster.
    On the contrary, I found that Domingo was more musical and produced stronger emotional impact on me than many younger real baritones from the list above, and they are not the worst, right?
    I completely agree that there is little left from Domingo’s voice and breath now, and that the voice does not sound like baritone, but opera is supposed to provide emotional impact, not only sounds. If I don’t like a singer with better sound and better breath control (for example, some of them made me really bored), why would I go to hear him again? Only if he sings with great female singers, maybe. So why not to accept that Domingo, even now, has certain abilities that others are lacking?
    Or maybe I missed great contemporary baritones? I’d be thankful for recommendations…

      • Well, I don’t know if they are great, but I have an impression that there are more good female singers nowadays than male singers, at least when you see live opera… Again, in alphabetical order, in non-Wagner operas (since it started from Domingo nowadays), I usually liked live performances of Garanca, Harteros, Rachvelishvili, Radvanovsky, Yoncheva. Some others too, but I do not have many experiences with others, or not always positive experiences.

        Could you please tell your opinion? Also about male singers. I would be really thankful for any recommendations or opinions.

        • I absolutely agree with you, today there are much more good female singers, than male. I can’t explain that.

          As for female singers, I prefer Marina Rebeka, Sonya Yoncheva, Irina Lungu.

          As for male singers.. Ildar Abdrazakov definitely as baritone. Erwin Shrot – he is also a good actor. Probably Ramon Vargas as tenor.

          And the one and only Plácido Domingo. He is absolutely unique artist!

          • Thanks a lot!
            I really liked Marina Rebeka when I heard her live, but it was only twice, so I did not mention her. I like also Abdrazakov, and I’ll try to catch others live when (hopefully) lockdowns end. Although it is not easy to like other tenors after Domingo. I absolutely agree with you, Domingo is unique!

  • He is the same Placido Domingo like 3 years ago: a great singer, an opera legend and one of the best opera artist of all times.

    There is the only difference. Now we know that there are crazy women in US which are ready to say any lie to get PR and probably money. So sad that these 3 women discredited metoo so much. After this dirty well-paid and well-organized campaign against Domingo it is absolutely clear that metoo community don’t care women rights. They need power and money only…

    You may ask who paid metoo for their lie? It is clear. The person who benefits from this campaign – LA Opera new GM. He has dreamed about this position many years.

    • Let me get this straight: you actually sit around thinking this up? Or is it some radio inside your head? If the latter, please DO adjust your set.

        • “You may ask who paid metoo for their lie? It is clear. The person who benefits from this campaign – LA Opera new GM.”

          You have evidence of any aspect of this? If not it is defamatory and actionable. To say nothing of the fact that there is not even any evidence that anyone was lying — quite the opposite. And no evidence that any money changed hands, or that anyone was seeking power. Everything about your comment is ludicrous.

          You suggesting the new GM at LA also paid for New York and all the other US centres to distance themselves from Domingo, let alone the UK and some of western Europe? What on earth do you think they are paying him there?

          Of course I am disagreeing with your comment. It is unadulterated rubbish.

          • Don’t you consider accusations against Domingo as a defamation? There is no any proof of metoo words. Just non proof statements. These 3 women are not ready to confirm their accusations at police and court. Probably, because their accusations are false and defamation is crime?
            Why is it ok for you to believe these women without any proof? Probably you consider their sexual fantasies as proof?

            As for anonymous persons, there is no any proof they are real people. Journalists may say there are 1 million anonymous accusers, why not? No proof needed.

            As for LA opera GM. I don’t have any proof of course, I’m not a police. He definitely benefits from this dirty campaign, so I’m not surprised if he is responsible for that.

            This is a witch hunt. Metoo is now corrupted extremism community that is ready to do anything to get money.
            Why don’t they accuse Biden? Many women confirmed that Biden harassed them. Probably because metoo was told to shut up and don’t push Biden case?

          • WHAT MONEY? You keep saying people are in it for money. Just who has been getting money? From whom? Journalists do not pay sources for stories (aside from some sleazy tabloids, but |I am talking about real journalists). And nobody sued Domingo, even in litigious America, where people go to court if their coffee is too hot.

            Do you really think almost every major musical institution in America would have dropped Domingo unless they believed that story after story essentially making the same or similar accusations was at least substantially accurate? He was money in the bank to these institutions. He brought prestige and profile to their endeavours. Obviously the perception in too many backstages was that he was a very uncomfortable person for women artists and staff to be around. Do you really think there was a national conspiracy to bring him down? WHY, for God’s sake?

            As has frequently been reiterated here, he was never accused of criminal acts. He was accused of workplace harassment, and the workplaces looked into it and came to their decisions, separately — lose this guy. If he had been defamed, HE had recourse in law. He never even accused anyone of defamation — and his changing roster of responses didn’t do much for his credibility — let alone filed suit.

            I might find his fans’ devotion to him touching if I did not remember the rabid Cosby fans and the O.J. jury.

          • Who can pay metoo for their statements?
            There are several persons who could do it.
            First one – LA Opera GM. This guy got LA Opera GM position and 1,2M salary. And he didnt support Domingo, but started internal investigation against him. A very fast guy.

            The 2nd variant. 2 of Domingo sons were at scientology sect for many years. 1 son has left the sect several years ago, and the older one is still there. Domingo paid lots of money to scientologists while his 2 sons there at sect, but stoped that after his son left the sect. And the sect probably decided to destroy his career and life. Scientology sect is non legal in many countries, just for informtation.

            By the way, journalists often pay people like these women to dabricate “hot” stories. These women have never been talanted, they couldnt make a successfull career and they definitly need money.

            It is really a question why american opera houses fired Domingo… Probabaly he had to much power at the oprea world… Many people were to jealouse of that.

            As I know a harassment is a criminal act, right? Thats why I dont understand why Domingo accusers came to journalists only, but not to police or court.
            If someone wants to claim a crime he comes to police, but not to media or TV show. Metoo women came to journalists only… They still have not provided any proof of their statements. Just words. And they are not ready to confirm they words at police or court.

            Domingo doesnt go to court as he doesnt have much time ahead and he doesnt want to waste his time for these dirty liars. He wants to work and make music. A lawsuite can last for years…

          • That is just a collection of ill-considered assertions and assumptions. You DO NOT KNOW any of the things you are stating to be true, certainly including the financial stability of complainants.

            I don’t know where you live — I would say English is not your first language but your mis-spelled and occasionally ungrammatical use of the language is, alas, no worse than that of all too many Americans and |English contributors to fora such as this or BTL comments, not to say bloggers and writers themselves — but FYI legitimate news organisations, such as AP, DO NOT pay sources.

            And the sort of harassment of which people were complaining did not rise to the level of criminal behaviour. It was of the sort that takes place in all sorts of workplaces every day, and decent workplaces deal with it themselves. As was done in Domingo’s case.

            PD has said he will “prove” his “innocence.” Yeah, right: just like O.J. is still looking for “the real killer.”

          • You are right, English is not my native language. I was born in Slovenia and now I live in Italy. I dont use English every day and of course I make grammar mistakes. I’m sorry for that.

            I tell you about different ideas who can be an initiator of this campaign against Domingo as this looks like a witch hunting. There is no any evidence neither a court process, just non proof accusations of 3 women. That is not enought to believe them. It is very easy to lie at media if no one ask about evidence. If they accuse Domingo or anyone else, they should proof that.

            These women were very happy to take pictures with Domingo, you can easily find these pictures in Google. Patrica Wulf promoted her LinkedIn page with Domingo name. Angela Turner-Wilson also promoted her artistic profile with Domingo name. That means they used PD to get money and thats why I suppose they could make false accusations to get money from Sientologists, LA Opera GM or metoo lawer Debra Katz. She lost several cases at court recently and she tried to find a new case to restore her careee. Probably she found these women, paid them and got a very scandal case that helped her with her career.

          • It seems that V.Lind supports double standards. V.Lind doesnt need any evidence of metoo accusations against Domingo. V.Lind sure that the accusations are true just becouse he / she doest like Domingo.

            At the same time V.Lind does need evidence to confirm that LA Opera GM or anyone else is responsible for initiating this dirty media campaign against Domingo.

  • I still like Placido but I think he should have retired gracefully 10-15 years ago like a lot of singers. His Idomeneo in Chicago 20 years ago was already walking uncomfortably on a tightrope.

    • I sort of agree.

      I have heard him several times in the last 15-20 years. The following is based on what I heard.

      One thing I respect is that he scaled back his roles: first taking lower-lying supporting tenor roles, then later he took baritone roles. (I personally think that he could have been an even greater baritone than he was a tenor–but that’s easy for me to say sitting in my armchair.) He didn’t attempt to sing the huge tenor roles that were at one time his métier, but no longer are.

      On the other hand, there comes a time when it’s just the right thing to do, to move on.

      This is without discussing the allegations lodged against him.

  • Domingo’s performances in Germany (Hamburg, Munich and Cologne) were cancelled because of the Covid-19 lockdown of the theaters. And because of the situation at this moment also his concert in Baden Baden and Paris are likely to be canceled . So, he is still very welcome in those countries! Do your homework properly Mr. Lebrecht and stop your disgusting attacks on this great artist!

    • All Tickets for 2 La Boheme performances in Bolshoi theatre on Feb 12 & 14 with Domingo conducting were sold out today 10 minutes (!!!) after the opening of sales.
      Not so bad, right?)

  • I hope he continues singing for at least 15 more years. Maybe that way everyone will forget about the charges of womanizing (and also what a great singer he used to be — he’ll just be remembered as “oh yeah, that really really old guy lol”).

    • ^ I should have added “…because everyone who can remember what a great singer he used to be will have died from old age,” LOL

  • I would really like to know what Norman Lebrecht has against Domingo and why he always has to have a pop at him.
    It may interest you to look at Domingo ‘s calendar. He has performances booked, unless coronavirus causes cancellations, in France, Switzerland and Germany as well as Russia. At the end of last year he sang in Florence, Monte Carlo and took part in the steamed opening of the season at La Scala, so is not just working in the authoritarian states of Hungary and Russia.

    Domingo is the first to admit he is not a natural baritone. Cappuccili fan is correct in saying that his singing of baritone roles is more musical and produces a stronger emotional impact than some younger baritones, that is why his performances are sold out.

    The detractors and Norman Lebrecht should watch some of his performances and see why he continues to sing, because he can, instead of finding reasons to constantly denigrate him.

    The man works tirelessly and generously for the benefit of opera. He is acutely aware of the problems of singers, less fortunate than himself, who have seen their careers come to a standstill because of the covid19 virus. He will no doubt work quietly in the background and probably give benefit concerts when he can to assist them. So can we have a lot less sniping about his ego and attention seeking.

    Whatever the detractors say he is still a unique artist and does not deserve the constant criticism he receives from this site.

  • Domingo should retire? Come on! They’ve just elected a guy almost as old as him President of the USA for the next four years!

    • US have now Nancy Pelosi as a speaker and she is 80.
      If it is ok to have 80 years old people at top government positions, why is it a problem to sing and conduct at the same age?

    • It’s time to retire, Placido.
      You’re an old man.
      You look like hell.
      Your voice sounds like s**t.
      Give some other singers a chance – you’ve made your pile, and a big pile it is.
      Retire while you still have a tiny shred of your musical reputation left – your personal reputation has already gone down the crapper.
      To the downvoters: vaffanculo!

  • I saw an interview with PD on Youtube a while ago about when it was time to leave the stage. Back then he said he would much rather that people said “What a shame he is not singing anymore” than have people say “Oh no here he comes again”

    It is a shame he did not take his own advice. 80 years old and clinging on to fading fame is just kind of sad. I feel sorry for him.

  • Hugues Cuénod was 84 when he made his Met debut as Altoum in “Turandot.” PD, comparatively, is still a spring chicken ;). I was at one of PD’s last Met performances–as Gianni Schicchi. He gave one genuine thrill, which was the spoken declamation at the opera’s end. Otherwise, it was a remarkable display of will power, hollow sound, decades of stage experience and famishment for applause.

    • I was at one of those Gianni Schicchi performances, perhaps the same one as you. I had a similar reaction to yours.

      • Mr Safford, thank you for sharing your impressions. I was the Dec 15, 2018 performance, the last of the run and thus missed Blythe’s Principessa in Angelica, alas.

  • Perhaps Domingo should retire from singing and take up conducting or running an opera company (in Europe or Russia, he’s all washed up in America.)

  • Caro Mr Lebrecht,

    Preziosissimo il consiglio per un ottuagenario di ritirarsi un paio di anni in un eremo… possibilmente scalzo e vestito solo di un saio, flagellandosi per tutti i peccati commessi… Lui, unica pecora nera tra gente “casta!… al par di neve!!”

    Come l’Opera di Los Angeles ha giudicato “cedibili” quelle signore… qualcuno potrebbe giudicare “credibile” che io sia venuto dalla luna, magari con il tram. Ma comunque continuiamo con questa farsa, visto che altri argomenti non ne ce n’è… a parte il COVID!

    Invece di sputare il suo veleno sul signor Domingo…. talmente ne ha ricevuto in questi mesi che sarà diventato immune… perché non ci fa sapere cosa farà Mr Gelb del suo teatro quando avrà finito di vendere tutti fondi di magazzino dello shop on-line e soprattutto quando avrà esaurito la messa in onda a pagamento di tutte le vecchie (e straordinarie) produzioni del Met… ATTENZIONE: senza mai nominare Domingo quando le annuncia!!! Cioè Domingo canta ma non c’è!

    Le suggerisco a tal proposito una bella intervista al suo amico Mr Gelb, novello Daniele da Volterra detto il Braghettone… ha presente quell’amico di Michelangelo, che metteva le mutande ai santi?

    E poi dicono “La forza del destino”… pensi che coincidenza, da quando il Met ha sbattuto la porta in faccia al signor Domingo ha praticamente chiuso i battenti… chissà forse era rimasto l’unico a fare sold out in un teatro ormai fantasma. E così il COVID ha dovuto solo far la fatica di mettere i sigilli alle porte di un teatro ormai vuoto. Certo che grottesco è che sia ancora il signor Domingo che mantiene il Met, visto che è l’artista con il maggior numero di registrazioni trasmesse.

    Davvero credete che una persona compri lo streaming di un’opera a prescindere da chi la canta???

    Per gli ineffabili consigli, l’impeccabile perbenismo e le illuminate sentenze che lei, Mr Lebrecht, elargisce a piene mani… voglio dirle GRAZIE: ci fa veramente scompisciare (“morire dal ridere”) e dio solo sa quanto ne abbiamo bisogno oggi… di ridere!

    Comunque la questione è seria, perché dopo la pandemia dovremo fronteggiare una grave piaga sociale. Infatti, se veramente signor Domingo, ancora oggi, muove centinaia di migliaia di persone che vogliono sentirlo dal vivo, significa che abbiamo al mondo centinaia di migliaia di cretini-sordi: una vera tragedia, informerò subito la WHO!

    Infine colgo l’occasione per ringraziarla, Mr Lebrecht, per il suo contributo fondamentale all’evoluzione dell’opera in questo secolo e nel precedente. Sicuramente quando il dinosauro-Domingo si ritirerà ce ne faremo una ragione… anzi neppure ce ne accorgeremo… Ma quando lei la smetterà di scrivere stronzate, lascerà davvero un vuoto incolmabile.

    Mi perdonerà se le ho scritto in italiano, ma non dubito che la sua preparazione culturale le dia la piena padronanza anche della lingua madre dell’opera.

    Termino con un capolavoro di Alberto Sordi…. e chissà…. se il signor Domingo accoglierà il suo affettuoso invito di lasciare finalmente l’opera potrebbe dedicarsi al cinema… ed è a gente come lei che vorrei dedicasse l’ultima battuta di questa grande scena del Marchese del Grillo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MDY-8DVqjs

    Alla prossima minchiata!

  • Domingo is now at Vienna, but not at Argentina. He is rehearsing Nabucco that will be at Vienna Opera on Jan, 22 right after hs birthday. This production will be broadcatsed on January, 24.

  • Caro Mr Lebrecht,

    Preziosissimo il consiglio per un ottuagenario di ritirarsi un paio di anni in un eremo possibilmente scalzo e vestito solo di un saio, flagellandosi per tutti i peccati commessi… lui, unica pecora nera tra gente “casta!… al par di neve!!”

    Come l’Opera di Los Angeles ha giudicato “cedibili” quelle signore… qualcuno potrebbe giudicare “credibile” che io sia venuto dalla luna con il tram. Ma comunque continuiamo con questa farsa visto che altri argomenti non ne avete.

    Invece di sputare veleno sul signor Domingo…. talmente ne ha ricevuto in questi mesi che sarà diventato immune… perché non ci fa sapere cosa farà il Met quando avrà finito di vendere i fondi di magazzino dello shop del Met e soprattutto quando avrà esaurito la messa in onda a pagamento di tutte le vecchie (e straordinarie) produzioni del Met… ATTENZIONE: senza mai nominare Domingo quando le annuncia!!! Cioè Domingo canta ma non c’è!

    Le suggerisco a tal proposito una bella intervista al suo amico Mr Gelb, novello Daniele da Volterra detto il Braghettone, l’amico di Michelangelo, che metteva le mutande ai santi.

    Da quando il Met ha sbattuto la porta in faccia al signor Domingo ha praticamente chiuso… era l’unico a fare sold out in un teatro ormai fantasma. E il COVID ha solo messo i sigilli alle porte di un teatro vuoto. Ma è comico che sia ancora il signor Domingo che mantiene il Met, visto che è l’artista con il maggior numero di registrazioni in quel teatro e non solo!

    Davvero credete che una persona compri lo streaming di un’opera a prescindere a chi la canta?
    I meravigliosi consigli e lo straordinario perbenismo di cui anche lei, Mr Lebrecht è promotore, ci fa veramente scompisciare (“morire dal ridere”)

    Dopo la pandemia dovremo fronteggiare una grave piaga sociale: se signor Domingo, ancora oggi, muove centinaia di migliaia di persone che vogliono sentirlo dal vivo… significa che abbiamo al mondo centinaia di migliaia di cretini sordi: informerò subito la WHO!

    Colgo l’occasione per ringraziarla Mr Lebrecht per il suo contributo fondamentale all’evoluzione dell’opera in questo secolo e nel precedente. Sicuramente quando il dinosauro-Domingo si ritirerà ce ne faremo una ragione… anzi neppure ce ne accorgeremo…
    ma quando lei la smetterà di scrivere stronzate lascerà davvero un vuoto incolmabile.

    Mi perdonerà se le ho scritto in italiano, ma non dubito che la sua preparazione culturale le dia la piena padronanza anche della lingua dell’opera.

    Termino con un capolavoro di Alberto Sordi…. e chissà…. se il signor Domingo accoglierà il suo affettuoso invito di lasciare finalmente l’opera potrebbe dedicarsi al cinema… ed è a gente come lei che vorrei dedicasse l’ultima battuta di questa scena del Marchese del Grillo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MDY-8DVqjs

    Alla prossima minchiata che scriverà!

  • It’s posts like this, Norman, where I think Charlton Heston or Yul Brynner – someone straight out of central casting – should magically appear as ‘the voice of god’ and say plainly to you, good sir, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone”.

  • Not to mention his predictable artistic deterioration over the years especially since he became a fake “baritone”.

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