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Placido Domingo axed from show after sexual misconduct claims

Placido Domingo apologised to the women affected (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
Placido Domingo apologised to the women affected (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

The Spanish government has cancelled the participation of Placido Domingo in Madrid’s La Zarzuela light opera after the singer said he accepted “full responsibility” for actions that led to accusations of sexual misconduct.

It is the first time a performance by the tenor has been cancelled in Europe since allegations surfaced of sexual misconduct.

Spain’s Culture ministry said on Wednesday that “given the seriousness of the deeds” and “in solidarity with women affected” together with Domingo’s declarations of responsibility, it had cancelled his part in the Luis Fernanda show on May 14-15 in La Zarzuela.

The Culture Ministry’s decision came a day after the US union representing opera performers said its investigators found the opera star had behaved inappropriately over the course of two decades when he held senior management positions at Washington National Opera and Los Angeles Opera.

 Placido Domingo
Opera star Placido Domingo has faced claims of sexual misconduct (Laszlo Balogh/AP)

Domingo later issued a statement saying: “I respect that these women finally felt comfortable enough to speak out, and I want them to know that I am truly sorry for the hurt that I caused them. I accept full responsibility for my actions, and I have grown from this experience.”

The union’s investigation was the first of two independent inquiries launched after multiple women accused Domingo of sexual harassment and abusing his power in two AP stories published last year.

The second inquiry, still ongoing, was launched by LA Opera, where Domingo had been general director since 2003 before resigning in October.

Domingo’s response marked a stunning reversal from the opera superstar’s initial statements, tinged with disbelief at the accusations reported last year by the Associated Press that he sexually harassed multiple women.

Meanwhile, Spain’s Teatro Real opera house said it will hold a meeting to discuss whether or not to continue with Domingo’s participation in the opera, La Traviata, in May, for similar reasons.

Teatro Real press chief Jose Maria Noguerol said the theatre’s executive commission would hold the meeting soon.

Domingo has long been one of Spain’s most popular and respected stars. Many people came to his defence when the charges first emerged last year.

Elsewhere, the Salzburg Festival said on Tuesday it was studying Domingo’s concert performances of I Vespri Siciliani in August 2020.

“The Salzburg Festival intends to obtain comprehensive information on the investigations currently underway in the USA before it considers further steps, and will then inform the press of its decision,” it said in a statement.

Domingo is also scheduled to sing at a festival in the southern Spanish city of Ubeda in May. Spanish national television said the show has been sold out.

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