Spain cancels performance by Placido Domingo after he apologised over sexual harassment claims

Opera star Placido Domingo has seen a major show cancelled just a day after he accepted ‘full responsibility’ over claims he sexually harassed 20 female colleagues. 

Spain’s Ministry of Culture and Sports cancelled two performances due to take place in Madrid in May to mark the 50th anniversary of his first concert in the capital.

‘In solidarity with the women affected, [we have] taken the decision to cancel his performances,’ a spokesman for the institute said. 

It is the first time that a performance by the 79-year-old has been called off in his native Spain since he was accused by 20 women last year of forcibly kissing, grabbing or fondling them, in incidents dating back to at least the 1980s. 

Spain has cancelled a major show by Placido Domingo ‘in solidarity’ with 20 women who accused the opera singer of sexual assault

Domingo was due to appear as Vidal in a performance of Luisa Fernanda on May 14 and to conduct the performance the following evening.

The show will still go ahead, but without his involvement on either night. 

It also comes a day after he said he was sorry for the ‘pain that I caused’ and acknowledged that women had feared speaking out because of his high profile. 

A series of singers, dancers, musicians and backstage staff have said they witnessed inappropriate behaviour by Domingo at opera houses over the last three decades. 

Domingo had initially defended his ‘gallant gestures’ but finally apologised today after ‘analysing’ the claims against him.  

‘I have taken time over the last several months to reflect on the allegations that various colleagues of mine have made against me,’ Domingo said in a statement. 

‘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.’ 

He continued: ‘I understand now that some women may have feared expressing themselves honestly because of a concern that their careers would be adversely affected if they did so. 

‘While that was never my intention, no one should ever be made to feel that way.

‘I am committed to affecting positive change in the opera industry so that no one else has to have that same experience. 

‘It is my fervent wish that the result will be a safer place to work for all in the opera industry, and I hope that my example moving forward will encourage others to follow.’

Patricia Wulf

Angela Turner Wilson

Patricia Wulf (pictured left) and Angela Turner Wilson (right) were two of the women who accused Placido Domingo of sexual harassment  

Claims against the Spanish singer first emerged last August, when eight singers and a dancer said they were sexually harassed by him. 

He dropped out of a performance at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in November amid mounting claims of misconduct.

One accuser, mezzo-soprano singer Patricia Wulf, said Domingo had propositioned her night after night following their performances. 

Baritone Robert Gardner backed up her story, saying he saw Domingo ‘positioning himself and manoeuvring around rehearsal rooms and in the hallway to get close to her’. 

Another woman, Angela Turner Wilson, said Domingo had tried to kiss her in her dressing room after entering without knocking. 

Domingo had also invited her to his apartment and out for dinner and would sit with her during rehearsal breaks and tell her ‘I adore you, Angela’, she said.  

Both women said they did not report the star’s behavior to management, fearing they wouldn’t be believed and that they would be the ones penalised.  

The 79-year-old opera singer (pictured) said he was sorry for the 'pain that I caused' and acknowledged that women had feared speaking out because of his high profile

The 79-year-old opera singer (pictured) said he was sorry for the ‘pain that I caused’ and acknowledged that women had feared speaking out because of his high profile 

An investigation by the U.S. union representing opera performers found that the accusers’ accounts showed a clear pattern of sexual misconduct. 

The probe by the American Guild of Musical Artists heard from 27 people who said they experienced or witnessed inappropriate behaviour and 12 others who said it was common knowledge. 

The allegations included unsolicited physical touching, ranging from kisses on the mouth to groping. 

They also included late-night phone calls in which Domingo asked women to come to his residence.  

Two of the women told investigators that they had sexual relations with Domingo, saying they felt compelled to submit because of his position of authority and potential to damage their careers. 

Domingo, a tenor who turned to the baritone repertoire as he aged, had originally disputed the accusations against him. 

As the ‘Three Tenors’, Domingo, Jose Carreras and the late Luciano Pavarotti helped bring opera to a wider audience with concerts around the world in the 1990s.