VIENNA – The president of the Salzburg Festival gave her backing Tuesday to Placido Domingo, who has been accused by nine women of sexual assault, and confirmed the Spanish opera singer would be giving performances on Aug. 25 and 31 as planned.
“I’ve known Placido Domingo for more than 25 years. He impressed me from the beginning, along with his artistic ability, his respectful manner with all workers and workers of the festival,” Helga Rabl-Stadler said in a statement.
She said Domingo knew “everyone’s names, from the doorman to the secretary (of the festival)” and was grateful for any help he is given.
“If the accusations against him had also taken place at the headquarters of the festival, I would have known,” she said.
Rabl-Stadler said she always practices the “in dubio pro reo” principle, a Latin expression meaning that the accused cannot be convicted when doubts over his/her guilt remain.
“I think it is objectively incorrect and humanly irresponsible to make a definitive judgment at this time and take decisions on this basis,” said the head of the festival with regards to the singer’s upcoming performance.
The festival’s artistic director, Markus Hinterhäuser, sales director, Lukas Crepaz, and Rabl-Stadler are all agreed that Domingo should sing, as planned, at the Luisa Miller as part of the 2019 edition of the festival, the statement concluded.
Festival sources told Efe that Domingo was not in Salzburg right now.
The Salzburg Festival is one of Europe’s most prestigious and it has a long artistic relationship with Domingo that goes back over 50 years.
The Associated Press published a report on Tuesday morning featuring the accounts of nine women – eight singers and a dancer – who accuse 78-year-old Domingo of sexual assault, allegedly over the past 30 years.
Domingo responded to the allegations in a statement and was cited by AP as saying he believes all of his “relations” with women were “always welcomes and consensual,” and dismissed the accusations as “inaccurate.”
He acknowledged that “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,” he added.