Plácido Domingo resigns from Los Angeles Opera amid sexual harassment claims

Star steps down as general director and withdraws from future performances, marking end to US career

The opera star Plácido Domingo has resigned as general director of Los Angeles Opera – a company he helped found – amid allegations of sexual harassment that span several decades.

Domingo also withdrew from all forthcoming performances at the LA Opera, his last scheduled shows in the United States, signaling an end to his half-century career in American opera.

Domingo’s announcement on Wednesday comes a week after he backed out of scheduled performances at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, just one day before opening night, amid building pressure from within the company. Other institutions including the Philadelphia Orchestra and San Francisco Opera also canceled Domingo’s appearances, citing anti-sexual harassment policies.

“I hold Los Angeles Opera very dearly to my heart and count my work to create and build it as among my most important legacies,” Domingo said in a statement. “However, recent accusations that have been made against me in the press have created an atmosphere in which my ability to serve this company that I so love has been compromised.”

Though Domingo is still scheduled to perform at various venues in Europe, the 78-year-old singer has faced fierce criticism following the publication of accounts by the Associated Press from nine women who said that he harassed them over three decades beginning in the late 1980s. The women described instances of unwanted kissing, groping and sexual advances along with threats to their careers if they resisted.

A few weeks later, the AP published 11 additional accounts, including that of singer Angela Turner Wilson, who said Domingo reached under her clothes and grabbed her bare breast while the two were getting ready for a Washington Opera performance during the 1999-2000 season.

“It hurt,” Wilson told the AP. “Then I had to go on stage and act like I was in love with him.”

Domingo responded that he believed their interaction had been consensual.

In August, LA Opera, which Domingo has led for 15 years, announced that it had hired a law firm to lead an independent investigation into his conduct but allowed him to continue as director.

In response to Domingo’s resignation Tuesday, the executive committee of the LA Opera board of directors thanked the singer for “popularizing opera in the consciousness of Los Angeles” and said that he had performed more than 300 in Southern California.

Contributor

Maanvi Singh

The GuardianTramp

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