Domingo de­parts Met Opera amid in­quiry

The Korea Times - - PEOPLE -

NEW YORK (AP) — The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Opera an­nounced Tues­day that Placido Domingo had agreed to with­draw from his slate of sched­uled per­for­mances at the opera house fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual ha­rass­ment made by mul­ti­ple women in two As­so­ci­ated Press sto­ries. The opera leg­end in­di­cated that he would never again per­form at the Met.

Domingo had been sched­uled to sing the ti­tle role in the sea­son pre­miere of Verdi’s “Mac­beth” on Wed­nes­day night, which would have been his first per­for­mance in the United States since the AP re­ported that nu­mer­ous women had ac­cused him of in­ap­pro­pri­ate be­hav­ior, in­clud­ing one so­prano who said he grabbed her bare breast.

The Met had been un­der in­creas­ing pres­sure to can­cel Domingo’s six sched­uled ap­pear­ances, but gen­eral man­ager Peter Gelb re­it­er­ated to per­form­ers after a dress re­hearsal Satur­day that the opera house was await­ing re­sults of in­ves­ti­ga­tions by the LA Opera, where Domingo has been gen­eral di­rec­tor since 2003, and the Amer­i­can Guild of Mu­si­cal Artists, the union that rep­re­sents var­i­ous opera staff.

Domingo, who had sung in re­hearsals, is­sued a state­ment say­ing his Met ca­reer was over after what the com­pany said was 706 per­for­mances as a singer, plus 169 as a con­duc­tor.

“I made my de­but at the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Opera at the age of 27 and have sung at this mag­nif­i­cent theater for 51 con­sec­u­tive, glo­ri­ous years,” the star said. “While I strongly dis­pute re­cent al­le­ga­tions made about me, and I am con­cerned about a cli­mate in which peo­ple are con­demned with­out due process, upon re­flec­tion, I be­lieve that my ap­pear­ance in this pro­duc­tion of ‘Mac­beth’ would dis­tract from the hard work of my col­leagues both on stage and be­hind the scenes.

“As a re­sult, I have asked to with­draw,” he added, “and I thank the lead­er­ship of the Met for gra­ciously grant­ing my re­quest. I am happy that, at the age of 78, I was able to sing the won­der­ful ti­tle role in the dress re­hearsal of ‘Mac­beth,’ which I con­sider my last per­for­mance on the Met stage.”

In its state­ment, the Met said the long-mar­ried, Span­ish-born su­per­star had “agreed to with­draw from all fu­ture per­for­mances at the Met, ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately.”

Gelb sent an email to the Met staff say­ing, “We are grate­ful to him for rec­og­niz­ing that he needed to step down.”

The Philadel­phia Orches­tra, San Fran­cisco Opera and Dal­las Opera pre­vi­ously can­celed up­com­ing con­certs star­ring Domingo after the AP sto­ries were pub­lished. But his re­cep­tion has been far dif­fer­ent in Europe, where he re­ceived lengthy ova­tions after con­cert per­for­mances of Verdi’s “Luisa Miller” at the Salzburg Fes­ti­val in Aus­tria on Aug. 25 and 31, just weeks after the ini­tial AP story.

One of Domingo’s ac­cusers, Pa­tri­cia Wulf, called Domingo’s with­drawal from the Met “such a re­lief.”

“I feel like we ac­com­plished some­thing,” said Wulf, who ac­cused Domingo of re­peat­edly ha­rass­ing her dur­ing per­for­mances at Wash­ing­ton Opera in the late 1990s, while he was gen­eral di­rec­tor of the com­pany.

“The Met fi­nally stepped up and did the right thing,” she told the AP.

In ad­di­tion to an­nounc­ing Domingo’s with­drawal, Gelb said the Met was sus­pend­ing tenor Vit­to­rio Grigolo pend­ing the out­come of an in­ves­ti­ga­tion opened Tues­day by the Royal Opera in Lon­don, which said he was al­leged to be in­volved in a Sept. 18 in­ci­dent when he sang the ti­tle role in Gounod’s “Faust” on tour in Tokyo.

AP-Yon­hap

Placido Domingo per­forms dur­ing a dress re­hearsal of Giuseppe Verdi’s “Stiffe­lio” at the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Opera in New York in this 1993 file photo.

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