Previously acclaimed Spanish-born opera conductor and singer Plácido Domingo is reportedly under investigation by the Los Angeles Opera following an extensive Associated Press story that details several accusations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior which span the course of his last three decades in the exclusive world of classical music.
Each of the nine women who spoke out, all but one doing so on the condition of anonymity and a number of others off the record, shared similar stories outlining a disturbing case of abuse of power made clear by the dangling of jobs or promised increased success with the stipulation of some form of sexual relationship. Seven of the accusers noted that their careers were in fact negatively impacted following their rejection of his advances. Many, if not all, didn’t immediately report incidents or share their stories for fear of retribution, losing assignments (being that several of them still actively work in the industry), and simply because “that just wasn’t done.” Emboldened by the MeToo movement, and supported by corroborations obtained by AP, the women decided to speak out. Patricia Wulf, a mezzo-soprano who worked with Domingo at the Washington Opera, was the only one to publicize her name.
Domingo has been the general director of The Los Angeles Opera since 2003, performed in just about every prestigious opera house, and is the recipient of seven Grammys. He has been married to Mexican opera soprano and stage director Marta Domingo for the last 57 years.
At time of publication, Domingo is still slated for various appearances, including the Salzburg Festival in Austria. The Philadelphia Orchestra and the San Francisco Opera, on the other hand, are cancelling upcoming performances. The New York Met is awaiting results of LA Opera’s investigation before proceeding to make a decision of their own.
Though the news has shaken the world that Domingo – who Wulf said was comparable to God in the business – acquired star status in, his inappropriate sexual behavior was apparently an open secret. “There is an oral tradition of warning women against Plácido Domingo,” one of the women who worked at the LA Opera said. “Avoid interaction with him at all costs. And definitely don’t be alone with him.”
Domingo denies the allegations, calling them “inaccurate.”
The LA Opera issued a statement saying, they’re “committed to doing everything we can to foster a professional and collaborative environment where all our employees and artists feel equally comfortable, valued, and respected.”
Whether or not Domingo will face any repercussions for his actions is yet to be seen, but this moment is equally about allowing for healing and more transparency within often very hush-hush, competitive sectors of the music world such as this. “I’m stepping forward because I hope that it can help other women come forward,” Wulf said, “or be strong enough to say no.”