entertainment 4 days ago

San Francisco Opera cuts Placido Domingo show amid sexual harassment claims

Mercury News — Jim Harrington Mercury News

Aug. 13--.

San Francisco Opera is canceling its upcoming concert with Placido Domingo in the wake of extensive sexual harassment allegations levied against the singer, one of the biggest stars in opera history.

The company announced the cancellation Aug. 13, one day after a bombshell story by the Associated Press claimed the celebrated vocalist "tried to pressure women into sexual relationships by dangling jobs and then sometimes punishing the women professionally when they refused his advances." Domingo performed a widely acclaimed recital with the opera company in 2018, and his Oct. 6 show in San Francisco had long since sold out.

"The decision to cancel the concert was made after recent news reports of multiple allegations of sexual harassment," the news release from the San Francisco opera reads. "Though the alleged incidents reported did not take place at San Francisco Opera, the Company is unable to present the artist on the War Memorial Opera House stage.

"San Francisco Opera is committed to its strong anti-sexual harassment policy and requires all Company members to adhere to the highest standards of professional conduct. San Francisco Opera places a great priority on creating a safe and secure environment where everyone can focus on their work and art, and in which colleagues are treated with respect, dignity and collegiality."

Patrons who have tickets to the canceled Domingo performance, originally scheduled for Oct. 6, will be contacted by the San Francisco Opera Box Office and can choose to exchange their tickets into another concert this season or request a refund, according to the news release.

The San Francisco Opera cancellation comes on the same day as Philadelphia Orchestra dropped plans to host Domingo on opening night of its season, and in which the Los Angeles Opera, where Domingo has been general director since 2003, announced it has launched its own investigation of the matter. The New York Metropolitan Opera said it would await the results of the L.A. Opera probe before deciding whether to have Domingo star in Verdi's "Macbeth" opposite the soprano Anna Netrebko. The production opens Sept. 25.

All together, nine accusers have came forward to the Associated Press, charging Domingo with a long trail of sexual harassment that goes back several decades. The harassment allegedly occurred at "venues that included opera companies where he held top managerial positions," according to the Associated Press report.

"One accuser said Domingo stuck his hand down her skirt and three others said he forced wet kisses on their lips -- in a dressing room, a hotel room and at a lunch meeting," AP reports.

In response to the allegations, Domingo issued a statement, which was included in the AP article:

"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."

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