Opera star Placido Domingo said a climate in which people are accused without due process has cast a shadow over his colleagues, so he decided to drop out of an upcoming production, vowing to never again perform at New York’s Met.
Domingo announced the decision on Tuesday, just one day before the opening of ‘Macbeth’ at the Metropolitan Opera, in which the renowned tenor-turned-baritone was slated to star in the title role.
While an official probe by the American Guild of Musical Artists has been launched into Domingo’s alleged sexual misconduct, and insider complaints have swirled about his presence at the Met, the vocalist said the choice to pull out was his alone, and that he did not want to embroil his co-stars in controversy.
“I made my debut at the Metropolitan Opera at the age of 27 and have sung at this magnificent theater for 51 consecutive, glorious years,” Domingo said in a statement.
While the singer said he “strongly” disputes the claims of sexual harassment made about him in August, and is alarmed by a “climate in which people are condemned without due process,” he said that “upon reflection I believe that my appearance in this production of ‘Macbeth’ would distract from the hard work of my colleagues both onstage and behind the scenes.”
The Met confirmed that Domingo would not return for future performances, according to the Associated Press.
Among a group of critics demanding Domingo be excluded from the production was Democratic State Senator Brad Hoylman, who stated outright in a Facebook post earlier on Tuesday that “Placido Domingo should be removed from the show – and if he isn’t, the General Manager of the Met should be removed too.”
Following Domingo’s announcement that he would no longer perform, the state senator shared a link to the story, along with the caption “Update: we won.”
Major newspapers such as the Washington Post also published stories quoting the complaints of several Met employees, some of whom slammed the company for inconsistency after its earlier firing of conductor James Levine, who also faced allegations of sexual misconduct.
In mid August, the Associated Press published a story citing nine women, all but one remaining anonymous, accusing Domingo of inappropriate touching and other unwanted advances. The vocalist responded arguing that the report was “inaccurate,” and insisted the incidents in question – some of which date back to the 1980s – were consensual.
Macbeth would have been Domingo’s first US performance since the allegations surfaced last month. Some American institutions, such as the San Francisco Opera and the Philadelphia Orchestra, have already cancelled the singer’s upcoming performances over the claims of misconduct. To date, no European venues have followed suit.
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