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Opera legend Placido Domingo accused of sexual harassment; LA Opera to investigate  1 Week ago

Source:   USA Today  

Placido Domingo, one of the world's most recognizable and accomplished opera singers, has been accused of sexually inappropriate behavior by multiple women. 

Nine women told the Associated Press that they were sexually harassed by the long-married, Spanish-born superstar in encounters that took place over three decades beginning in the late 1980s. A half-dozen other women told the AP that suggestive overtures by Domingo made them uncomfortable.

In response, the San Francisco Opera said Tuesday it is canceling a concert planned for October to celebrate Domingo's 50 years with the opera. The event was billed as an opportunity to see “one of the most influential singing actors in the history of opera.”

Earlier in the day, the Philadelphia Orchestra also rescinded an invitation for Domingo to perform. He had been scheduled to join several other musicians for the opera's opening night Sept. 18.

The Los Angeles Opera has issued a statement saying it will investigate allegations against Domingo from the AP story: “LA Opera will engage outside counsel to investigate the concerning allegations about Placido Domingo.”

The statement noted that Domingo, who has served as general director since 2003, has been “a dynamic creative force in the life of LA Opera” for more than three decades, adding, “We believe all employees and artists should be treated respectfully and feel safe and secure within their work environment.”

Read on for everything we know about the allegations against Domingo, 78. 

Eight singers and a dancer told the AP that Domingo sexually harassed them, and six additional accusers said Domingo's actions made them uncomfortable. One singer said Domingo repeatedly asked her out on dates after hiring her to sing a series of concerts with him in the 1990s. 

“Every time I would walk off stage, he would be in the wings waiting for me,” said Patricia Wulf, who performed with Domingo at the Washington Opera. “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?’ ”

Other accusers' accounts were more graphic. One woman described how Domingo reached down her skirt, and three reported that Domingo gave them unwanted kisses on the lips.

Several women said Domingo hired them or offered to help their careers before relentlessly pursuing them. When they rejected him, they said, Domingo would decline to give them additional roles within the opera company he was working with at the time. 

Wulf called his behavior a "well-known secret."

Two of the women said they submitted to Domingo's advances, fearing that rejecting him would jeopardize their careers. One woman said she had sex with him twice and described how he left her $10, saying, "I don't want you to feel like a prostitute, but I also don't want you to have to pay to park."

“The allegations from these unnamed individuals dating back as many as 30 years are deeply troubling, and as presented, inaccurate," Domingo said in a statement. 

“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.”

Domingo first married at age 16 to Ana Maria Guerra Cue, a short union that produced their son Jose, according to U.K. outlets The Independent and The Times.

He married his second wife, Marta Ornelas, on Aug. 1, 1962, when he was 21. Ornelas was a soprano whom Domingo met during conservatory, and after a stint of performing together as a couple, Ornelas retired to take care of their children: Plácido Domingo Jr., now 54, and Alvaro Maurizio, now 51. 

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