Nine women have accused Plácido Domingo, one of the leading figures in the world of opera, of sexual harassment. Their testimonies have been published by the Associated Press (AP), which said that only one of the accusers, the retired mezzo-soprano Patricia Wulf, agreed to go on the record, while the others withheld their identities for fear of reprisals.
Seven women said they felt their careers had been hurt after refusing Domingo’s advances
The news agency reported that the Madrid-born tenor and opera director allegedly harassed young women who were starting their careers, offering jobs in exchange for sexual favors and professionally punishing those who refused his advances.
The alleged events took place over the course of three decades, starting in the late 1980s, said the AP. None of the women could offer documentation to back up their accusations, but the AP “independently verified that the women worked where they said they did and that Domingo overlapped with them at those locations.”
Domingo responded in a statement: “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.”
After calling the accusations “inaccurate,” Domingo added that “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 78-year-old Domingo is one of the most admired tenors of all time, and a powerful figure in the world of classical music. He has sung 150 roles in over 4,000 performances, continues to sing, and also works as the director of the Los Angeles Opera. He famously teamed up with Luciano Pavarotti and José Carreras to form the popular trio known as The Three Tenors in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Eight singers and a dancer told the AP that they were harassed by Domingo, whose attitude towards women was “an open secret” in the world of opera. One of them said he stuck his hand down her skirt, and three more said he forced kisses on them at business lunches, dressing rooms and hotel rooms.
Two of the women said they finally agreed to have sex with Domingo because they felt they could not refuse the most powerful man in their line of work
Another half a dozen women said Domingo made overtures that made them feel uncomfortable, including insistent phone calls to ask them out on dates.
Seven women said they felt their careers had been hurt after refusing Domingo’s advances. The AP spoke with “almost three dozen” other people from the world of opera, who confirmed that “they witnessed inappropriate sexually tinged behavior by Domingo and that he pursued younger women with impunity.”
Two of the women said they finally agreed to have sex with Domingo because they felt they could not refuse the most powerful man in their line of work.
Many women said that colleagues warned them never to be alone with the tenor, not even in an elevator. “There is an oral tradition of warning women against Plácido Domingo,” said a mezzo-soprano who worked at the LA Opera but is not among the accusers, the AP reported.