Opera legend Plácido Domingo is withdrawing from all his future performances at the Metropolitan Opera house in New York City in the wake of multiple sexual harassment accusations against him, The Met announced on Tuesday.
“The Met and Mr. Domingo are in agreement that he needed to step down,” the company said in a statement, adding that the decision is effective immediately and that The Met has no further comment at this time. The tenor had been scheduled to perform in productions of Verdi’s “Macbeth” and Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” this fall.
“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,” Domingo said in a statement. “As a result, I have asked to withdraw and I thank the leadership of the Met for graciously granting my request.”
Domingo, noting that he had performed for 51 consecutive years at The Met, added: “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.”
Serbian baritone Zeljko Lucic will replace Domingo for The Met’s three remaining performances of “Macbeth.”
Since the Associated Press reported last month that nine women had accused the Spanish tenor of sexual harassment over three decades, a number that grew to at least 20 women, the Philadelphia Orchestra and San Francisco Opera both canceled performances with the tenor.
The Los Angeles Opera, where Domingo has served as general director since 2003, also announced last month that it was hiring an outside counsel to investigate the accusations.
Eight singers, including retired mezzo-soprano Patricia Wulf, and one dancer told the Associated Press that Domingo pressured them into sexual relationships to advance their careers. Seven of the nine said they felt they were punished professionally when they refused his advances.
Three accusers told the AP he forced wet kisses on them without their consent, while another said he put his hand down her skirt. All but Wulf declined to be identified by name for fear of professional reprisal.
The accusers described a pattern of behavior that involved repeated contacts, including late-night phone calls, and requests for private meetings at his apartment or hotel room under the guise of career advice, the AP reported.
“The allegations from these unnamed individuals dating back as many as thirty years are deeply troubling, and as presented, inaccurate,” Domingo said in a statement at the time. “I believed that all of my interactions and relationships were always welcomed and consensual.”