For decades, Placido Domingo, one of the most celebrated and powerful men in opera, has tried to pressure women into sexual relationships by dangling jobs and then sometimes punishing the women professionally when they refused his advances, numerous accusers told The Associated Press.
Regarded as one of the greatest opera singers of all time, Domingo also is a prolific conductor and the director of the Los Angeles Opera. The multiple Grammy winner is an immensely respected figure in his rarefied world, described by colleagues as a man of prodigious charm and energy who works tirelessly to promote his art form.
But his accusers and others in the industry say there is a troubling side to Domingo - one they say has long been an open secret in the opera world. Eight singers and a dancer have told the AP that they were sexually harassed by the long-married, Spanish-born superstar in encounters that took place over three decades beginning in the late 1980s, at venues that included opera companies where he held top managerial positions. One accuser said Domingo stuck his hand down her skirt and three others said he forced wet kisses on their lips - in a dressing room, a hotel room and at a lunch meeting. The AP also spoke to almost three dozen other singers, dancers, orchestra musicians, members of backstage staff, voice teachers and an administrator who said they witnessed inappropriate sexually tinged behavior by Domingo and that he pursued younger women with impunity.
Seven of the nine accusers told the AP they feel their careers were adversely impacted after rejecting Domingo's advances, with some saying that roles he promised never materialized and several noting that while they went on to work with other companies, they were never hired to work with him again.Only one of the nine women would allow her name to be used - Patricia Wulf, a mezzo-soprano who sang with Domingo at the Washington Opera. The others requested anonymity, saying they either still work in the business and feared reprisals or worried they might be publicly humiliated and even harassed.
With files from the Associated Press
AirTalk invited both the Los Angeles Opera and Plácido Domingo to participate in our discussion. We received this statement from a Los Angeles Opera spokesperson:
"We believe all employees and artists should be treated respectfully and feel safe and secure within their work environment. LA Opera has robust human resources policies and procedures in place. In accordance with those policies, LA Opera will engage outside counsel to investigate the concerning allegations about Plácido Domingo. Plácido Domingo has been a dynamic creative force in the life of LA Opera and the artistic culture of Los Angeles for more than three decades. Nevertheless, we are 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."