Public Media Arts Hub

Opera singer Placido Domingo sits during an event at the Manhattan School of Music in New York, U.S., May 11, 2018. Photo by: Shannon Stapleton/File Photo/Reuters
Opera singer Placido Domingo sits during an event at the Manhattan School of Music in New York, U.S., May 11, 2018. Photo by: Shannon Stapleton/File Photo/Reuters

Spain cancels Plácido Domingo's appearance in two opera dates

MADRID — The Spanish government has canceled the participation of tenor Plácido Domingo in Madrid's La Zarzuela light opera theater in May, a day after the legendary singer said he accepted "full responsibility" for his actions that led to accusations of sexual misconduct.

It is the first time a performance by Domingo has been cancelled in Europe since allegations surfaced of sexual misconduct by the singer.

Spain's Culture ministry said Wednesday that "given the seriousness of the deeds," and "in solidarity with women affected," together with Domingo's declarations of responsibility, it had canceled his part in the Luis Fernanda show in May, 14, 15 in La Zarzuela.

MORE: Report suggests Placido Domingo's sexual impropriety was an "open secret" in opera world

The Culture Ministry's decision came a day after the U.S. union representing opera performers said its investigators found the opera star and former general director at Washington National Opera and Los Angeles Opera had behaved inappropriately over the course of two decades when he held senior management positions at Washington National Opera and Los Angeles Opera.

Domingo later issued a statement saying: "I respect that these women finally felt comfortable enough to speak out, and I want them to know that I am truly sorry for the hurt that I caused them. I accept full responsibility for my actions, and I have grown from this experience."

The union's investigation was the first of two independent inquiries launched after multiple women accused Domingo of sexual harassment and abusing his power in two AP stories published last year. The second inquiry, still ongoing, was launched by LA Opera, where Domingo had been general director since 2003 before resigning in October.

Domingo's response marked a stunning reversal from the opera superstar's initial statements, tinged with disbelief at the accusations reported last year by The Associated Press that he sexually harassed multiple women.

READ MORE: Multiple women accuse opera singer Placido Domingo of sexual harassment

Meanwhile, Spain's Teatro Real opera house said it will hold a meeting to discuss whether or not to continue with Domingo´s participation in the opera, La Traviata, in May, for similar reasons.

Teatro Real press chief José María Noguerol said the theater's executive commission would hold the meeting soon but he could not say exactly when.

He said the theater had also requested a copy of the US investigators' findings.

The Teatro Real initially stood by a presumption of innocence for Domingo when the allegations first surfaced. It also highlighted his professional trajectory, while stating that the theater had zero tolerance for the alleged misbehavior.

Domingo has long been one of Spain's most popular and respected stars. Many people came to his defense when the charges first emerged last year.

Elsewhere, the Salzburg Festival said Tuesday it was studying Domingo's concert performances of I Vespri Siciliani in August 2020.

"The Salzburg Festival intends to obtain comprehensive information on the investigations currently underway in the USA before it considers further steps, and will then inform the press of its decision," it said in a statement.

The Festival said its priority "was and remains to treat the singer, who has been confronted with accusations of wrongdoing, fairly – in other words, not to rush to any judgment.

"The facts, however, have now changed," it said, adding that Domingo "concedes that his behaviour might have hurt the women in question, and apologizes for this."

Domingo is also scheduled to sing at a festival in the southern Spanish city of Úbeda in May. Spanish national television said the show has been sold out.

It was not immediately possible to make contact with the show's organizers for comment.

Support Canvas

Sustain our coverage of culture, arts and literature.

Send Us Your Ideas
Let us know what you'd like to see on ArtsCanvas. Your thoughts and opinions matter.