Los Angeles Opera officials said Tuesday they will conduct an investigation into newly revealed allegations of sexual harassment against its director, world-renowned tenor Placido Domingo.
“We believe all employees and artists should be treated respectfully and feel safe and secure within their work environment,” according to a statement released by LA Opera. “LA Opera has robust human resources policies and procedures in place. In accordance with those policies, LA Opera will engage outside counsel to investigate the concerning allegations about Placido Domingo.
“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.”
Nine women — eight singers and a dancer — allege in a report by the Associated Press that Domingo for decades has tried to pressure women into sexual relationships by dangling jobs, then punishing women professionally when they refused his advances.
Additionally, almost three dozen other singers, dancers, orchestra musicians, members of backstage staff, voice teachers and an administrator told the AP they witnessed inappropriate sexually tinged behavior by Domingo and that he pursued younger women with impunity.
Retired mezzo-soprano Patricia Wulf told the AP that Domingo hit on her with disturbing regularity.
“Every time I would walk off stage, he would be in the wings waiting for me,” she said. “He would come right up to me, as close as could be, put his face right in my face, lower his voice and say, `Patricia, do you have to go home tonight?”’
Regarded as one of the greatest tenors of all time, Domingo, now a baritone, is also a conductor, the director of the Los Angeles Opera and a multiple Grammy winner. At 78, he still attracts sellout crowds around the globe.
Domingo would not answer specific questions from the AP but issued a statement.
“The allegations from these unnamed individuals dating back as many as thirty 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. 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. I am blessed and privileged to have had a more than 50-year career in opera and will hold myself to the highest standards.”