Placido Domingo: Opera star ‘truly sorry’ over sex harassment

Opera star Placido Domingo, who is facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment, on Tuesday apologised for "the hurt" caused to his accusers, saying he accepted "full responsibility" for his actions.

Placido Domingo: Opera star 'truly sorry' over sex harassment
Placido Domingo accepts "full responsibility" in the wake of sexual harassment claims. Photo: AFP

“I want them to know that I am truly sorry for the hurt that I caused them. I accept full responsibility for my actions,” he said in a statement sent to Spanish news agency Europa Press and seen by AFP.

The famed Spansih singer — who has been a conductor and director of some of the world's most prestigious opera houses — has been accused by at least 20 women of forcibly kissing, grabbing or fondling them in incidents dating back to at least the 1980s. 

The accusations, which began to surface in September, led Domingo to step down as general director of the Los Angeles Opera, and withdraw from all future performances at New York's Metropolitan Opera, effectively ending his US career.

But until now he has strongly disputed the accusations, 

“Without a doubt these have been the most difficult months of my life. Unimaginable,” the 78-year-old said during an interview published in online Spanish newspaper El Confidencial in November.


“I feel judged, condemned and sentenced, but I have not been accused of any crime… I continue to work, study, rehearse and perform. This gives me the serenity I need to face this nightmare,” he added.

Several of the women said Domingo tried to pressure them into sexual relationships by dangling jobs, and then sometimes punished them professionally when they refused his advances — a charge he denied.

“I never retaliated, cut short or hurt anyone's career. I never promised anyone a role in exchange for favours,” he told El Confidencial.    

“What I experienced was unstaoppable. The accusation and the sentence came instantly and there was nothing else to do but stay calm and remain quiet until the furor passed.”

So far, Domingo's career has been less affected by the scandal in Europe than in the United States.

He has performed in Austria, Hungary and Switzerland since the allegations were published and received standing ovations.



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A Masked Ball: Madrid opera forced to cancel show after protest over social distancing

Spain's main opera house, the Teatro Real in Madrid, defended itself Monday after it had to cancel a performance when a small group of spectators loudly protested against being seated too close to each other amid a spike in Covid-19 infections.

A Masked Ball: Madrid opera forced to cancel show after protest over social distancing
View of the Teatro Real in Madrid. Photo: Claudia Schillinger/ Flickr

The performance of Giuseppe Verdi's “A Masked Ball” on Sunday night was called off after a “minority” of spectators repeatedly jeered and clapped despite being offered the chance to be relocated or get a refund for the value of their tickets, the theatre said in a statement.

Videos shared on social media by several spectators who were at the performance showed full rows in the upper sections where seats are cheaper, while in the pricier floor section many empty seats could be seen.

Clapping and calls of “suspension!” could be heard even after the actors tried to begin their performance.

The Teatro Real had “respected the health norms” put in place by the regional government of Madrid to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and “even reinforced them”, the chairman of the body which manages the theatre, Gregorio Marañon, told a news conference on Monday.

Attendance at the performance had been reduced to just 51.5 percent of the total, well below the  limit of 75 percent set by the regional government, he added.

The regional government does not require there to be an empty seat between spectators, but it does require there to be a distance of 1.5 metres (five feet) between people, or if this is not possible, that they wear face masks, which is mandatory at the theatre, Marañon said.

The Teatro Real, which celebrated its bicentenary in 2018, is studying “what measures we can take for those spectators who… clearly felt in an uncomfortable situation,” he added.

The incident comes as the regional government of Madrid has imposed a partial lockdown in several densely-populated, low income areas mainly in the south of the Spanish capital where virus infections are surging, sparking a debate about inequality and triggering protests in these neighbourhoods over the weekend before the new measures took effect on Monday.