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Opera's Plácido Domingo starts U.S. performances amid allegations

Opera star Plácido Domingo listens to applause at

Opera star Plácido Domingo listens to applause at the end of a concert in Szeged, Hungary, on Aug. 28, 2019. Photo Credit: AP / Laszlo Balogh

When opera superstar Plácido Domingo appeared in Europe last month after being accused of sexual harassment by multiple women, his performances were greeted with rapturous ovations. This week, the spotlight moves to the United States, where Domingo faces two investigations into his behavior and is scheduled to help kick off the new season at New York's Metropolitan Opera. Companies in three other American cities have canceled his performances due to the allegations.

Wednesday's appearance in "Macbeth" marks the legendary tenor's first performance in the United States since the publication of two Associated Press stories in which numerous women said he sexually harassed them or engaged in other inappropriate behavior.

Domingo has called the allegations "in many ways, simply incorrect," without providing any specifics.

Domingo is general director of LA Opera, which has engaged outside counsel to conduct its investigation. He also is being investigated by the American Guild of Musical Artists, the union representing many opera employees.

The Met has said it will wait for the results of the LA Opera investigation before deciding on any action against Domingo, who is scheduled to perform at the storied opera house seven times this season.

The Met's general manager, Peter Gelb, held a one-hour meeting with chorus singers and orchestra musicians after a dress rehearsal Saturday to discuss the Mets' position on the allegations.

In characterizing the meeting, Gelb said, "I said we took the allegations very seriously. For some people, allegations are enough to warrant actions, but the Met as an institution does not believe it can take action until there is corroborated evidence, which has so far not been the case."

Gelb said he also noted the Met was closely monitoring the two investigations and "we are prepared to take action when action is merited."

One musician who attended the meeting and spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation described the session as heated and often emotional.

Some staff members were visibly emotional as they challenged Gelb, the musician said, with at least one telling him, "This is exactly why women don't come forward." But one female chorus member spoke up in support of the Met's position, the musician noted.

Domingo was not at the staff meeting, but did participate in a previously scheduled sexual harassment seminar last week with fellow cast members, according to a Met staff member with direct knowledge of the meeting, who spoke on condition of anonymity for the same reasons.

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