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#MeToo's latest atrocity: Opera singer Plácido Domingo has been attacked


#MeToo's latest atrocity: Opera singer Plácido Domingo has been attacked

David Walsh

August 17, 2019

On August 13, the Associated Press published an article by Jocelyn Hecker, claiming that Spanish opera singer Plachido Domingo had sexually abused several women for several decades. Eight female singers and one dancer have accused Domingo of unwanted advances, some of the incidents that occurred 30 years ago.

Domingo is one of the most remarkable figures in the history of opera. Since his debut in Mexico City in 1959, he has sung almost unimaginable 150 roles (for comparison, Enrico Caruso sang 60 and Maria Callas approximately 50).

Plomido Domingo in 1979

In 2018, when Domingo's praise was still allowed, the New York Times quotes the comment of Joseph Volpe, former general manager of the Metropolitan Opera: "If you look at the history of singers in the opera, it stands alone … If there was ever a giant in any industry, it's Plachido Domingo. He is unsurpassed. " times continued, "Now 77, far beyond the age at which most star singers retire, Mr. Domingo has performed nearly 4,000 times in six decades in his career, recorded more than 100 albums and has become a household name."

Hecker's AP article is an effort to stain and damage Domingo's career and position. In the #MeToo campaign, which has already been revered by McCarthyite's time, every woman quoted, but one makes anonymous requests. In addition, "none of the women," Hecker admits, "could offer documentation such as telephone messages."

Patricia Wolfe, the only accuser to give her name, admits – in a separate interview with NPR – that Domingo has never touched her inappropriately or harmed her singing career in any way. He pursued her, and she replied. It is difficult to understand what punishment would be too heavy for such behavior!

There is growing aversion to or distrust of the devastating, anti-democratic methods of witch hunting #MeToo. AP's story of Domingo seems to be somewhat delayed and tired, albeit vicious, in the effort to pump air into an increasingly fallen bubble.

Plomido Domingo at the National Opera in Washington after Die Walküre, April 2007 [Credit:Rmm413]

US theaters responded to Hucker's article with the inevitability that one associates with such institutions. The Philadelphia Orchestra refused his invitation to Domingo to attend his inaugural gala on September 18th. The orchestra piously explained that it was "committed to providing a safe, supportive, respectful and appropriate environment".

Announcing the termination of a concert on October 6 with the participation of Domingo, the San Francisco Opera explained that the decision "to cancel the concert was made after the latest reports of multiple sexual harassment allegations." He continued: "Although no alleged incidents have been taken at the San Francisco Opera, the Company was unable to represent the performer on the stage of the War Memorial Opera.

"The San Francisco Opera is committed to its strong anti-sexual harassment policy and requires all members of the Company to adhere to the highest standards of professional conduct. The San Francisco Opera places a high priority on creating a safe and secure environment in which everyone can focus on their creativity and art and in which colleagues are treated with respect, dignity and collegiality. "

Such people simply have no shame. To note or repeat the obvious: the opera company has been blackmailing 78-year-old Domingo, the most famous opera singer of the last half century, based on a single AP story filled with vague and unconfirming accusations.

Plomido Domingo, July 2019 [Credit: Archimadrid Ignacio Arregui García]

The Los Angeles Opera, where Domingo has been CEO since 2003, said in a statement that it would "engage outside counsel to investigate related allegations of Plachido Domingo." The statement continued: "Plachido Domingo is a dynamic creative force in life. at the LA Opera and Los Angeles Arts for over three decades. Nevertheless, we are committed to doing our best to create a professional and collaborative environment in which all our staff and artists feel equally comfortable, valued and respected. "

The Metropolitan Opera in New York, on which Domingo appeared every season from 1968-69, he expected the results of an investigation into the LA opera before making any "final decisions" on the future of Domingo in the Met, where he is due next month, "according to Hucker.

European singers and opera companies reacted differently. Spanish soprano Davinia Rodriguez, according to Europa Press, said she "never felt the slightest indication of what they were [the women in the AP story] blames the master. "She added that Domingo had always shown her and other performers and theater workers" the utmost respect, with the humility and generosity that characterize him. "

Spanish soprano colleague Pilar Jurado noted that Domingo had always acted "like a perfect gentleman" with her. A third Spanish soprano, Ainhoa ​​Arteta, asked sharply, "What's wrong with the fact that a man likes women?" Arteta also told a Spanish daily El Pa і p, "I know he's not a bully; I would put my hand in the fire on it. "

None of the European opera companies have announced the cancellation of singer-songwriting events. This may not be a big deal, as significant financial interests are involved. However, Helga Rabble-Stadler, president of the Salzburg Festival in Austria, issued an honorary statement in defense of Domingo. She wrote: “I have known Plomido Domingo for over 25 years. In addition to his artistic competence, from the beginning I was impressed by his appreciative attitude towards all Festival staff. He knows every name – from the doorman to the secretary; he never fails to thank anyone who does even the smallest service for him. If the allegations against him were made at the Festspielhaus in Salzburg, I'm sure I would have heard him. "

Domingo (right to right) at the Verdi Il trovatore during the 2014 Salzburg Festival (Photo credit Christian Mickelidi)

Rabl-Stadler continued: "In addition, as a training lawyer, my assumption is 'in dubio pro reo' [when in doubt, for the accused], It would seem to me factually wrong and morally irresponsible to make irreversible judgments at this time and to base decisions on such decisions. Artistic director Marcus Hinterhauser, CEO Lucas Krepaz and we all agree that Plácido Domingo should be involved in [Giuseppe Verdi’s] Louise Miller at the 2019 festival as planned. "

The Hamburg Opera said Domingo's appearance on November 27 remained intact. "As a public institution, we neither tolerate nor trivialize sexual assault, but we are also bound by the principles of the rule of law in our actions. Valid contracts with the concert organizer exist for the appearance of Pácido Domingo, "the Hamburg Opera said in a statement. "Therefore, depending on further developments, the concert will be scheduled."

The respect shown by the Salzburg Festival and the Hamburg Opera on the principle that the accused is innocent of proving guilty is as commendable as the attitude of the San Francisco and Philadelphia Opera is pathetic, but in this case one must ask " innocent "or" guilty "of what exactly?

Hucker begins his dishonest article this way: "For decades, Placido Domingo, one of the most famous and powerful men in opera, tries to pressure women into sexual relationships by hooking up with work and then sometimes punishing women professionally when they they refuse his advance. , numerous prosecutors say before the Associated Press. The claim that Domingo "sometimes" punished women "professionally" is perhaps the most serious accusation here.

Hucker later claimed: "Seven of Domingo's nine prosecutors have told the AP that they believe their careers were adversely affected after his advance was rejected, with some saying the roles he promises never come to fruition, and several note that while continuing to work with other companies, they were never hired to work with him again. "

Even the anointing should make some sense. Hucker actually tells only seven, not nine separate stories, of which "roles he promised [that] never materialize "appears in four – or maybe five (if" I can connect with you "is such a promise).

This, of course, is taken for granted that various anonymous accusers are telling the truth.

In her interview with NPR, Patricia Wolf asked her if she had “suffered any professional consequences by repulsing him. [Domingo] over and over, "he replied," No, I'm not. I have not had any career. In fact, it was interesting: He and the company continued to hire me. And that was great. "And this was the only person who was ready to speak on the record.

Hucker and various accusers claim that women were often afraid to reject Domingo's advances more strongly because of their relative lack of power, given its huge growth in the opera world. If, in fact, the singer offered women a similar position, it would not benefit him. Selfishness and self-centeredness are not unknown in this field.

In response to AP history, Domingo noted in a statement that the allegations "of these unnamed individuals, dating back 30 years, are deeply disturbing and, as they appear, inaccurate." He suggested it was painful to hear that upset someone. "Or made them feel uncomfortable – no matter how long and despite my best intentions. "

The singer continued: "I believed that all my interactions and relationships were always welcomed and agreed. People who know me or who have worked with me know that I am not someone who would intentionally hurt, offend, or embarrass anyone. However, I acknowledge that the rules and standards by which we are and must be measured today are very different than they were in the past. I am blessed and privileged to have had more than a 50-year career in opera and to adhere to the highest standards. "

Hecker's view of sexual intercourse ridiculates the semi-Victorian, semi-Puritan strain that has conquered parts of the upper-middle-class American community, at least in public pronouncements: men are predators, women are innocent flowers in need of some protection against such beasts.

According to another AP story, cultural journalist Leoneta Bentivoglio writes in the Italian daily La Repubblica, noticed that the fact that Domingo "is don Juan is something that everyone knows, and in the world of indiscriminate theater he is not alone." She went on: "We must add that his charm has always attracted a crowd of women and often he had to defend himself. "

The AP notes that Bentivoglio recalled an incident "at a Paris hotel during Domingo's heyday at Three Ten with Luciano Pavarotti and Jose Carreras when he asked reporters to pretend to escort him to the elevator to escape to his room, without being followed by some beautiful young women who “were in pursuit. "These are difficult stories to tell in the slippery era of #MeToo," Bentivoglio added.

Gecker and the Associated Press have taken a lot of time and effort to create their worn out track. They interviewed dozens of people in different parts of the United States to come up with one alleged act of inappropriate touch, three "forced wet kisses" and a host of unwanted suggestions from mostly unnamed sources. Why?

Whether Hucker, who also plays a role in trying to destroy the reputation of 81-year-old conductor Charles Dutoit in 2017, wants to make a name for himself in the way of Ronan Farrow from New Yorker or Jodie Cantor and Megan Dvohiy from New York Times with their claims against Harvey Weinstein?

Perhaps, but bigger problems are affected.

The #MeToo campaign expresses the interests of upper and middle class people who are fighting for progress and privileges in a burdened atmosphere on college campuses, in the media and elsewhere. Performers such as Domingo, Dutoit, James Levine, and others are simply damages in this regard. Their heads should roll as part of the "fresh blood" release process.

At the same time, the hunt for sexual witches serves the purpose of diverting attention from the broader, increasingly threatening social and political situation. Desperately preventing the left, the progressive opposition to the Trump administration's fascist attacks on immigrants, its incitement and a "everything for the rich" policy, the Democratic Party and its orbit have clung to anti-Russian hysteria and propelled #MeToo as a vehicle for #MeToo energizing wealthy petty bourgeois layers.

However, such efforts have their limits. The Domingo smear campaign may cause a bang or just fall apart. In its own right, such a result would be a sign of political maturation and increasing radicalization of the people.

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