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Placido Domingo Exits as L.A. Opera Director and Performer Amid Sexual Harassment Furor

Another shoe has dropped for Placido Domingo, who, as expected by many, has resigned as general director of Los Angeles Opera — and as the lead in any upcoming shows.

“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,” Domingo, 78, said in a statement given to the Los Angeles Times. “While I will continue to work to clear my name, I have decided that it is in the best interests of L.A. Opera for me to resign as its general director and withdraw from my future scheduled performances at this time. I do so with a heavy heart and at the same time wish to convey to the company’s dedicated board and hard-working staff my deepest wishes that the L.A. Opera continue to grow and excel.”

Domingo’s next role with the company was to have been in “Roberto Devereux,” beginning Feb. 22.

A week ago, the opera legend had pulled out of a Metropolitan Opera production of Verdi’s “Macbeth” just a week before it was to open. Although L.A. Opera had much more time to make any determinations about Domingo’s role in February’s production, and his role as director made any severance more difficult, there was little doubt the growing scandal would keep him off the stage on both coasts. Other organizations like the Dallas Opera, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the San Francisco Opera had canceled his performances already.

L.A. Opera’s president and chief executive, Christopher Koelsch, sent a letter to staff that included Domingo’s statement, along with his own response, in which he called the charges and developing investigation a “painful and challenging period” and said the organization will continue to look into the accusations until reaching a conclusion. “We must take further steps to guarantee we are doing everything we can to foster a professional and collaborative environment,” Koelsch told staff.

Domingo has been in a harsh spotlight for a month and a half, since the Associated Press reported in August that nine women — one named, seven anonymous — had described being harassed by Domingo, with charges ranging from kissing and groping to threatening careers. In response, Domingo attributed some of the firestorm to changing mores: “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.” But he also said he believed any interactions with these or other women were “welcomed and consensual.”

A second AP story included even more allegations of groping, leading spokesperson Nancy Seltzer to accuse the AP of painting “a misleading picture… riddled with inconsistencies and, as with the first story, in many ways, simply incorrect.”

 

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