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DOMINGO FALLOUT BEGINS (UPDATE)

Opera kingpin Placido Domingo has lost gigs in Philadelphia and San Francisco yet is still booked for a Salzburg Festival performance this month following accusations of sexual harassment and dangling roles in exchange for sexual favors.

On the heels of an Associated Press story in which nine women accuse Domingo of harassment, the Philadelphia Orchestra canceled his scheduled appearance on the opening night of its new season, 9/18 and the San Francisco Opera has dropped his solo appearance on 10/6.

LA Opera, which Domingo has run artistically  for 16 years, will hire outside counsel to investigate the allegations. The company said in a statement, “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."

Domingo has upcoming performances in the fall scheduled with New York City’s Metropolitan OperaMacbeth in September and Madame Butterfly in November. Met officials told the New York Times they would wait for the results of the LA Opera investigation before making any moves.

Most of his performances over the next 12 months are in Europe.

Domingo will be performing 8/31 at the Salzburg Festival. Festival President Helga Rabl-Stadler issued a statement that read: “I have known Plácido Domingo for more than 25 years. In addition to his artistic competence, I was impressed from the very beginning by his appreciative treatment of all Festival employees. He knows every name, from the concierge to the secretary; he never fails to thank anyone performing even the smallest service for him. Had the accusations against him been voiced inside the Festspielhaus in Salzburg, I am sure I would have heard of it.  

“Furthermore, as a jurist by training, my assumption is ‘in dubio pro reo.’ I would find it factually wrong and morally irresponsible to make irreversible judgments at this point, and to base decisions on such judgments. Artistic Director Markus Hinterhäuser, Executive Director Lukas Crepaz and I all agree that Plácido Domingo should perform in Luisa Miller at the 2019 Festival as planned.”

Domingo has been running the artistic side of LA Opera since 2003 and is currently its  Eli and Edythe Broad General Director. He is next scheduled to appear in the company’s production of Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux beginning in February. 

In the AP story, eight singers and a dancer say they have been sexually harassed by singer-conductor since the late 1980s. The AP interviewed singers, dancers, musicians and support staff who “witnessed inappropriate sexually tinged behavior by Domingo and that he pursued younger women with impunity.”

Domingo, who gained international pop culture fame as a member of the Three Tenors, told the AP: “The allegations from these unnamed individuals dating back as many as 30 years are deeply troubling, and as presented, inaccurate.

“Still, it is painful to hear that I may have upset anyone or made them feel uncomfortable—no matter how long ago and despite my best intentions. I believed that all of my interactions and relationships were always welcomed and consensual. People who know me or who have worked with me know that I am not someone who would intentionally harm, offend, or embarrass anyone.

“However, I recognize that the rules and standards by which we are—and should be—measured against today are very different than they were in the past. I am blessed and privileged to have had a more than 50-year career in opera and will hold myself to the highest standards.”

Domingo is also Chairman of IFPI, a role he has held since 2011.

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