Placido Domingo accused of harassment

Opera singer Placido Domingo stands accused of sexual harassment.
Opera singer Placido Domingo stands accused of sexual harassment.

A number of opera singers have accused celebrated opera star Placido Domingo of sexual harassment, saying he dangled roles for sex.

Numerous women have told The Associated Press that Domingo tried to pressure them into sexual relationships by dangling jobs and in some cases punishing them when they refused his advances.

Six other other women told The Associated Press that suggestive overtures by Domingo had made them uncomfortable.

One accuser said Domingo stuck his hand down her skirt and three others said he forced wet kisses on their lips - in a dressing room, a hotel room and at a lunch meeting.

And almost three dozen more people in the opera world said they witnessed inappropriate sexually-tinged behaviour by Domingo and that he pursued younger women with impunity.

Domingo called the allegations "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," he said.

"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.

"However, I recognise that the rules and standards by which we are - and should be - measured against today are very different than they were in the past. I am blessed and privileged to have had a more than 50-year career in opera and will hold myself to the highest standards."

Seven of the nine accusers told the AP they feel their careers were adversely impacted after rejecting Domingo's advances, with some saying that roles he promised never materialised.

Several noted that while they went on to work with other companies, they were never hired to work with him again.

Only one of the nine women would allow her name to be used: Patricia Wulf, a mezzo-soprano who sang with Domingo at the Washington Opera.

The others requested anonymity, saying they either still work in the business and feared reprisals or worried they might be publicly humiliated and even harassed.

None of the women could offer documentation, such as phone messages, but the AP spoke to many colleagues and friends in whom they confided.

In addition, the AP independently verified that the women worked where they said they did and that Domingo overlapped with them at those locations.

Several said they took extreme measures to avoid Domingo, including no longer using the ladies' room near his office, asking other singers or backstage staff to stick with them while at work, and not answering their phones at home.

Australian Associated Press