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After inquiry, Domingo withdraws from London performances
In this file photo taken on August 28, 2019 Spanish tenor Placido Domingo performs during his concert in the newly inaugurated sports and culture centre 'St Gellert Forum' in Szeged, southern Hungary. Opera great Placido Domingo, who has been hit by allegations of sexual harassment, has withdrawn from the Royal Opera House's upcoming performances of "Don Carlo", the London venue said Friday, March 6. Attila KISBENEDEK / AFP.

by Michael Cooper

LONDON (NYT NEWS SERVICE).- The Royal Opera House in London announced Friday that opera star Plácido Domingo had withdrawn from his upcoming performances there this summer. It was his latest European engagement to be called off since a U.S. opera union’s investigation found last week that Domingo had engaged in “inappropriate activity” with women.

The company said that Domingo’s withdrawal from a production of Verdi’s “Don Carlo” there in July had been “mutually decided.”

“We would like to confirm that we have received no claims of misconduct against Maestro Domingo during his time at the Royal Opera House and are sympathetic of his reasons for stepping down,” said a statement emailed by Ben Oliver, a spokesman for the Royal Opera. “Plácido is an outstanding singer and artist, and we are hugely grateful for his support and commitment over many decades.”

The announcement came a week after the union representing many U.S. opera performers, the American Guild of Musical Artists, released the results of an investigation which found that Domingo had “engaged in inappropriate activity, ranging from flirtation to sexual advances, in and outside of the workplace.”

The cancellation of the Royal Opera performances were the latest indication of a chink in Domingo’s European armor.

When allegations of sexual harassment against Domingo were first reported over the summer by The Associated Press, U.S. arts organizations swiftly canceled his appearances while European institutions, and audiences, steadfastly stuck with him.

But that began to change last week with the release of the U.S. union’s conclusions. His first European performances to have been canceled were in his native Spain, where the National Institute of Performing Arts and Music scrapped Domingo’s appearances in a zarzuela, a Spanish musical genre he has long championed, in Madrid.

And this week the Washington National Opera, where he served as artistic director and then, until 2011, as general director, announced that it was dropping his name from the young artists program he helped establish: The program, the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, will now be known as the Cafritz Young Artists of Washington National Opera.

When the union released its findings, Domingo issued a statement saying he accepted “full responsibility for his actions” and was “truly sorry” for the hurt he had caused women. But after some European companies began reassessing his performances, Domingo, 79, issued a new statement saying he had “never behaved aggressively toward anybody.”

It was unclear if Domingo would return to the Royal Opera, where he has performed for nearly 50 years, since his debut there as Cavaradossi in Puccini’s “Tosca” in 1971. When Domingo withdrew under pressure from a performance of Verdi’s “Macbeth” earlier this season at the Metropolitan Opera, he made it clear that he had no intention of returning.

© 2020 The New York Times Company

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