Opera star Placido Domingo resigned Wednesday as general director of the Los Angeles Opera and withdrew from future performances at the company following multiple allegations of sexual harassment reported by The Associated Press.
“I hold Los Angeles Opera very dearly to my heart and count my work to create and build it as among my most important legacies,” said Domingo, 78, who helped found the company in the 1980s.
“However, recent accusations that have been made against me in the press have created an atmosphere in which my ability to serve this company that I so love has been compromised,” Domingo said in a statement, saying he will continue to work to clear his name but decided “it is in the best interests of LA Opera for me to resign as general director and withdraw from my future scheduled performances at this time.”
The resignation comes a week after the Metropolitan Opera’s bombshell announcement that Domingo would not be taking the stage as the lead of “Macbeth” and possibly ever again. Three other companies – the Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Opera and Dallas Opera – had already removed Domingo from upcoming performances in the wake of AP stories that detailed multiple allegations of harassment and a variety of misconduct alleged by singers, a dancer and backstage opera employees over a period that spanned decades.
In two reports published Aug. 13 and Sept. 5, the AP spoke to more than 20 women who accused Domingo of sexual harassment or other inappropriate, sexually charged conduct. Many said Domingo tried to pressure them into sexual relationships and sometimes punished them professionally if they rejected him. All said they feared reporting him because of his power to make or break their careers, and that his behaviour was an open secret in the opera world.
Domingo has denied any wrongdoing.
Domingo’s departure from LA Opera raises questions about the future of his career in the United States, where he has been removed or has stepped down from all of his scheduled appearances for this year and next.
He still has a busy schedule of concerts across Europe, where the reaction to the allegations has been more muted.
The LA Opera Board of Directors thanked Domingo for his contributions to the art form in a separate statement Wednesday, which did not mention the allegations or an ongoing investigation into his alleged behaviour.
“Placido Domingo’s contributions to the cultural life of Los Angeles have been unprecedented and profound,” the statement said. “We thank Placido for popularizing opera in the consciousness of Los Angeles and are deeply grateful for his inspiration and dedication to our institution and our community.”
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