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Philadelphia Orchestra Cancels Placido Domingo Appearance at Opening Gala

Variety logo Variety 8/13/2019 Jem Aswad

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(Video provided by CBS)

Just hours after reports emerged that legendary opera singer Placido Domingo had pressured at least nine women for sexual favors by dangling prospects of work as reward, the Philadelphia Orchestra withdrew its invitation for the vocalist to appear with music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin in the season’s gala opening concert September 18.

The gala’s date will remain the same and the Orchestra is currently looking for a replacement.

a close up of a man wearing glasses © Bernat Armangue/AP/Shutterstock “The Philadelphia Orchestra Association has withdrawn its invitation to Plácido Domingo to appear as part of its Opening Night concert on September 18, 2019,” the orchestra said in a statement. “We are committed to providing a safe, supportive, respectful, and appropriate environment for the Orchestra and staff, for collaborating artists and composers, and for our audiences and communities. Information about Opening Night artist and program changes will be announced at a later date.”

Beyond that statement, written collectively, neither Nézet-Séguin (busy preparing for a residency at the Saratoga Arts Center in Saratoga, NY) nor its board would speak further.

The Los Angeles Opera, where Domingo has long been general director, did not immediately respond to Variety’s requests for comment. He remains on the opera’s website.

Set to make his return to the Philadelphia Orchestra stage (Domingo last performed with them January 20, 1973 for the 116th annual Academy Music Ball), this 2019-2020 season opener in  Philadelphia was the first showcase in a promised Domingo tour that next has dates in the United Kingdom, San Francisco, Moscow, and Vienna through October, then into 2020.

Domingo, 78, was accused by eight singers and one dancer of misconduct that seemingly began as far back as the 1980’s and has included unwanted kissing, touching and fondling, often with the promise of opera work or connections as a result. When Domingo’s attempts at seduction were spurned, the women claim the job offers dried up.

According to a statement from Domingo: “The allegations from these unnamed individuals dating back as many as 30 years are deeply troubling, and as presented, inaccurate. Still, it is painful to hear that I may have upset anyone or made them feel uncomfortable — no matter how long ago and despite my best intentions. I believed that all of my interactions and relationships were always welcomed and consensual. People who know me or who have worked with me know that I am not someone who would intentionally harm, offend, or embarrass anyone.”

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