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L.A. Opera stays quiet on Domingo

Aug 19,2019
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 company’s season opener Sept. 14.

Len Egert, the executive director of the American Guild of Musical Artists, told The Associated Press (AP) 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 company 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 organization. The nine women and dozens of others interviewed said Domingo’s behavior was an open secret in the industry and that he pursued younger women with impunity.

On Friday, the company 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 that they’ll share details when they have information and that there’s currently nothing to add beyond the statement released Tuesday.

Domingo is widely credited with raising the profile of the Los Angeles 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 2021-2022 season.

In its initial statement, the company said Domingo “has been a dynamic creative force in the life of L.A. 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 Philadelphia Orchestra and San Francisco Opera announced they would cancel upcoming performances featuring the star. The Metropolitan Opera said it would await the results of the Los Angeles Opera’s investigation “before making any final decisions about Mr. Domingo’s future at the Met,” where he is scheduled to appear next month.

The American Guild of Musical Artists issued a statement calling for wider investigations across the opera world.

“AGMA became aware of serious allegations of sexual harassment made by multiple women against Placido Domingo. We have contacted our employers to demand investigations into these allegations,” said the statement issued earlier this week.

Since then, “through our confidential reporting system we have been receiving reports from members,” Egert said Friday. “We are providing timely, confidential advice and guidance to these artists.” He did not elaborate.

Egert said that AGMA will be “closely monitoring the internal L.A. Opera investigation” and has scheduled a membership meeting in the city early next week, prior to the start of rehearsals, to address any member concerns on questions. AP