LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Opera announced on Tuesday that it will open an investigation into Placido Domingo, the general director of the institution since 2003, over accusations of sexual harassment against him revealed earlier this week.
The Los Angeles Opera “will engage outside counsel to investigate the concerning allegations about Placido Domingo,” the institution said in a statement obtained by EFE.
“Placido 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,” the opera continued.
An opera legend and world star in the classical music field, the Spanish-born tenor has been accused by eight female singers and a ballerina of subjecting them to unwanted sexual advances and pressure.
The 78-year-old Domingo responded that the accusations were “deeply troubling” and “inaccurate,” adding that he has “always” believed that all his interactions and relationships with women were “welcomed and consensual.”
The accusers say that Domingo continually pestered female colleagues for sex, kissing and touching them without consent and allegedly suggesting at times that succumbing to his advances might obtain better roles for them. None of the accusers claims that he ever used “force” against them, although the abuse was “mental” and ongoing.
Domingo, meanwhile, said that “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,” he said.
“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,” the tenor said, adding that he will “hold (himself) to the highest standards.”
Mezzosoprano Patricia Wulf, the only one of the accusers to speak publicly and not anonymously, told EFE on Tuesday that her accusation that Domingo pressured her to sleep with him was true and claimed to have “a witness who will back it up.”
The Philadelphia Orchestra also reacted to the news of the accusations, saying on Tuesday that it is cancelling Domingo’s performance scheduled for Sept. 18 and previously slated to be the grand opening for its concert season.
Despite this cancellation, Domingo will perform at the Salzburg Festival on Aug. 25 and 31, as planned, according to festival organizers.
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.