Opera singer Placido Domingo accused of sexual harassment

Opera singer Placido Domingo speaks during an event at the Manhattan School of Music in New York

Opera singer Placido Domingo speaks during an event at the Manhattan School of Music in New York

Nine women have accused acclaimed opera singer Plácido Domingo of sexual harassment, with many alleging the Grammy-winning musician promised them career help before aggressively pursuing them with late-night phone calls and unwanted hugs and kisses.

Eight singers and a dancer have told the AP 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, at venues that included opera companies where he held top managerial positions. She said that he undressed her, undressed himself, and that they had a session of "heavy petting" and "groping".

Three women told the outlet Domingo, 78, "forced wet kisses" on them, while one claimed he stuck his hand down her skirt. All but Wulf declined to be identified by name for fear of professional reprisal.

In interviews with almost three dozen people in the opera world - from singers to musicians to backstage staff - the AP said that they had witnessed legendary tenor behave inappropriately and pursue "younger women with impunity".

But the women accusing him and others in the industry say there is a troubling side to the 78-year-old - one they say has always been an open secret in the opera world. "We will await the results of the investigation into Plácido Domingo's behavior as head of the Los Angeles Opera before making any final decisions about Mr. Domingo's ultimate future at the Met".

Domingo was due to appear at the Philadelphia Orchestra's opening night concert on 18 September but the organisation said, in the light of the allegations, it had withdrawn its invitation.

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Domingo called the allegations "deeply troubling and, as presented inaccurate", adding "I believed that all of my interactions and relationships were always welcomed and consensual".

Two of the women said they briefly gave in to Domingo's advances, feeling they couldn't risk jeopardizing their careers by saying no to the most powerful man in their profession.

In the spirit of the Me Too era many praised the move by saying it was "high time" he was held accountable and calling the accusations in the report "strong".

Many who spoke out treated the allegations as an "open secret", with one woman noting unwritten rules that others had recalled: "Avoid interaction with him at all costs". Several performers told the AP that they were sexually harassed by the star while working for the Washington opera and that his behavior was common knowledge. The statement emphasized that Domingo has been "a dynamic creative force in the life of L.A. Opera and the artistic culture of Los Angeles for more than three decades".

"When I clearly was not going to have sex with him, he just walked me to the elevator and went back to his room".

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