NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Metropolitan Opera announced Tuesday that Placido Domingo had agreed to withdraw from his slate of scheduled performances at the opera house following allegations of sexual harassment made by multiple women.
The opera legend indicated that he would never again perform at the Met.
Domingo had been scheduled to sing the title role in the season premiere of Verdi’s “Macbeth” on Wednesday night, which would have been his first performance in the United States since 20 women had accused him of inappropriate behavior, including one soprano who said he grabbed her bare breast.
The Met had been under increasing pressure to cancel Domingo’s six scheduled appearances, but general manager Peter Gelb reiterated to performers after a dress rehearsal Saturday that the opera house was awaiting results of investigations by the LA Opera, where Domingo has been general director since 2003, and the American Guild of Musical Artists, the union that represents various opera staff.
Domingo, who had sung in rehearsals, issued a statement saying his Met career was over after what the company said was 706 performances as a singer, plus 169 as a conductor.
“I made my debut at the Metropolitan Opera at the age of 27 and have sung at this magnificent theater for 51 consecutive, glorious years,” the star said in a statement Tuesday.
“While I strongly dispute recent allegations made about me, and I am concerned about a climate in which people are condemned without due process, upon reflection, I believe that my appearance in this production of ‘Macbeth’ would distract from the hard work of my colleagues both on stage and behind the scenes.”
“As a result, I have asked to withdraw,” Domingo added, “and I thank the leadership of the Met for graciously granting my request. I am happy that, at the age of 78, I was able to sing the wonderful title role in the dress rehearsal of ‘Macbeth,’ which I consider my last performance on the Met stage.”
Gelb sent an email to the Met staff saying, “We are grateful to him for recognizing that he needed to step down.”
Three major American companies — the Philadelphia Orchestra, the San Francisco Opera and Dallas Opera — canceled upcoming concerts starring Domingo after the allegations became public.
“It appears that while the pain and indignity of more than 20 women who were sexually harassed by Mr. Domingo was not enough for the Met to do the right thing, but the public outcry was,” Debra Katz, attorney for one of Domingo’s accusers Patricia Wulf said in a statement.
Wulf called Domingo’s withdrawal from the Met “such a relief.”
Before Domingo’s withdrawal, the New York state senator whose district includes the opera house had called for his removal.
“I believe they have an obligation to hold their performers to a high standard, given the fact that they are one of the world’s most important cultural institutions,” said Brad Hoylman.
“They should be thinking also not just about his celebrity and star power, but about the 20 women who allegedly have made complaints. The Met has an obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of their employees and I’m concerned that if they don’t take action on this, this matter might discourage future employees from coming forward.”
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)