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The Future Of The LA Opera After Placido Domingo’s Departure

LA Opera's Nabucco in Concert starring Placido Domingo at Musco Center for the Arts
LA Opera's Nabucco in Concert starring Placido Domingo at Musco Center for the Arts
Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

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Opera star Placido Domingo resigned Wednesday as general director of the Los Angeles Opera and withdrew from all future performances, following multiple allegations from women who say the legendary tenor sexually harassed them there and at opera companies around the country over a period of decades.

Domingo’s departure from L.A. Opera raises questions about his future career in the United States, where he has been removed or has stepped down from all scheduled appearances since the allegations were first reported by The Associated Press. In two reports published Aug. 13 and Sept. 5, the AP spoke to more than 20 women who accused Domingo of sexual harassment or other inappropriate, sexually charged conduct. Many said Domingo tried to pressure them into sexual relationships and sometimes punished them professionally if they rejected him. All said they feared reporting him because of his power to make or break their careers, and that his behavior was an open secret in the opera world. 

In a statement Wednesday, Domingo said that his ability to continue at L.A. Opera was “compromised” by the accusations against him. The resignation comes a week after the Metropolitan Opera’s bombshell announcement that Domingo would not be taking the stage in the season premiere of “Macbeth” and possibly ever again. Three other companies -- the Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Opera and Dallas Opera -- had already removed Domingo from upcoming performances in the wake of the AP stories.

In a piece for the Los Angeles Times, classical music critic Mark Swed commented on the duality of Domingo’s legacy, saying “There is no excuse to be blind to Domingo’s lapses. But that doesn’t give us any excuse to fail to acknowledge what Domingo has meant to us.”

Today on AirTalk, we’ll discuss Domingo’s legacy in Los Angeles Opera history, look at the organization’s future following his departure, explore what this means for his reputation in Europe, where he also performs regularly, and weigh his legacy in the long history of opera.

With files from the Associated Press


Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times classical music critic; his latest article is “Plácido Domingo had to go, but he still matters”; he tweets @markswed