Placido Domingo withdraws from Met Opera after harassment reports

The Metropolitan Opera announced Tuesday that Placido Domingo had agreed to withdraw from his slate of scheduled performances at the opera house following allegations of sexual harassment made by multiple women in two Associated Press stories. The opera legend indicated that he would never again perform at the Met.

Placido Domingo has been accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour, which the opera singer has denied.Credit:AP

Domingo had been scheduled to sing the title role in the season debut of Verdi's Macbeth on Wednesday night, which would have been his first performance in the United States since the AP reported that numerous women had accused him of inappropriate behaviour, including one soprano who said he grabbed her bare breast.

The Met had been under increasing pressure to cancel Domingo's seven scheduled appearances, but general manager Peter Gelb reiterated to performers after a dress rehearsal Saturday that the opera house was awaiting results of investigations by the LA Opera, where Domingo has been general director since 2003, and the American Guild of Musical Artists, the union that represents various opera staff.

Domingo, who had sung in rehearsals, issued a statement saying his Met career was over after what the company said was 706 performances.

"I made my debut at the Metropolitan Opera at the age of 27 and have sung at this magnificent theatre for 51 consecutive, glorious years," the star said. "While I strongly dispute recent allegations made about me, and I am concerned about a climate in which people are condemned without due process, upon reflection, I believe that my appearance in this production of Macbeth would distract from the hard work of my colleagues both on stage and behind the scenes.

"As a result, I have asked to withdraw," he added, "and I thank the leadership of the Met for graciously granting my request. I am happy that, at the age of 78, I was able to sing the wonderful title role in the dress rehearsal of Macbeth, which I consider my last performance on the Met stage."

In its statement, the Met said Domingo had "agreed to withdraw from all future performances at the Met, effective immediately."

Gelb sent an email to the Met staff on Tuesday saying, "We are grateful to him for recognising that he needed to step down."

Zeljko Lucic will replace Domingo for the three performances of Macbeth. Domingo also had been scheduled for four performances as Sharpless in Puccini's Madama Butterfly at the Met in November.

In addition, Gelb said the Met was suspending tenor Vittorio Grigolo pending the outcome of an investigation opened Tuesday by The Royal Opera in London, which said he was alleged to be involved in a September 18 incident when he sang the title role in Gounod's Faust with the company on tour in Tokyo.

Grigolo, 42, was scheduled to sing six performances of Alfredo in Verdi's La Traviata at the Met in February and March.

Before Domingo's withdrawal, the New York state senator whose district includes the Met called for Domingo's removal from performances.

"I believe they have an obligation to hold their performers to a high standard, given the fact that they are one of the world's most important cultural institutions," said Brad Hoylman, a Democrat. "They should be thinking also not just about his celebrity and star power, but about the 20 women who allegedly have made complaints. The Met has an obligation to ensure the safety and well- being of their employees and I'm concerned that if they don't take action on this, this matter might discourage future employees from coming forward."


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