AAP Entertainment

LA Opera quiet on Placido Domingo probe

By AAP Newswire

The Los Angeles Opera has declined to release any details of its promised investigation into allegations of sexual harassment against opera legend Placido Domingo, the company's longtime general director, including whether it has already started.

The union that represents opera singers said Friday that it plans a meeting in Los Angeles next week to address its members' concerns ahead of the LA company's season opener Sept. 14.

Len Egert, the executive director of the American Guild of Musical Artists, told The Associated Press that the union has been receiving its own reports from members since an AP story earlier this week detailing accusations against the 78-year-old singing star.

Hours after the AP story was released Tuesday detailing the allegations, the LA Opera announced it would engage outside counsel to investigate the "concerning allegations."

Three of the nine women who accused the singer of harassment and abuse of power described encounters they said took place while working with Domingo at the LA organisation. The nine women and dozens of others interviewed said Domingo's behaviour was an open secret in the industry and that he pursued younger women with impunity.

On Friday, LA Opera would not disclose who would be conducting the investigation, how it would be carried out, when it would start or its expected duration.

A spokeswoman for the company said Friday LA Opera will share details when they have information and that there was currently nothing to add beyond the statement released Tuesday.

Domingo is widely credited with raising the profile of LA Opera, where he served as an artistic consultant from 1984 to 2000, artistic director from 2000 to 2003 and, finally, general director from 2003 until now. His current contract runs through the 2021-22 season.

In its initial statement, LA Opera said Domingo "has been a dynamic creative force in the life of LA Opera" but that it is committed to ensuring that its employees and artists "be treated respectfully and feel safe and secure."

Domingo did not respond to detailed questions from the AP about specific incidents. But he issued a statement calling the allegations "deeply troubling, and as presented, inaccurate," adding "I believed that all of my interactions and relationships were always welcomed and consensual."

The allegations in the AP story sparked a global discussion among opera singers on social media forums about the culture of sexual misconduct in the classical music world and the belief that opera companies have long been aware of bad behaviour and tolerated it, particularly when the accused are people in positions of power.

Aside from LA Opera, the other women quoted in the story recounted incidents they said took place at other venues, including Washington Opera and the Metropolitan Opera in New York, ranging from 1988 into the mid-2000s.

Some of the women told the AP that Domingo used his power at the LA company and elsewhere to try to pressure them into sexual relationships, with several saying that he dangled jobs and then sometimes punished them professionally if they refused his advances.