MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
Plácido Domingo is one of opera's most recognizable names. He is also one of opera's most powerful players. Today, the Associated Press published allegations from nine other artists who say Domingo sexually harassed them over a period of three decades. We're joined by NPR's Anastasia Tsioulcas, who's been following the story.
ANASTASIA TSIOULCAS, BYLINE: Hi, Mary Louise.
KELLY: What are these allegations? And who is making them?
TSIOULCAS: So the Associated Press reported that nine women - eight singers and a dancer - have come forward in allegations that date back to the 1980s and go about 30 years. They allege that Domingo tried to pressure them into sexual relationships in exchange for jobs and performance opportunities.
And many of their stories are very similar. The women are saying that he would persistently approach them or touch them or call them late at night, express interest in their careers and urge them to meet him at his apartment or a hotel room.
KELLY: And to be clear, it goes - it went beyond allegations of phone calls. It was also allegations of physical contact, of unwanted kissing and touching.
KELLY: OK. The women making these charges - are they speaking on the record? Are they offering evidence to support their accounts?
TSIOULCAS: Eight of the women have made those allegations anonymously. They told AP reporter Jocelyn Gecker that they're still fearful of retribution against their careers. But the AP says it corroborated the women's stories with colleagues and friends, and the AP also said it spoke to more than 30 other people who say they witnessed inappropriate behavior by Domingo. And at least one woman says that there was a whisper network about Plácido Domingo - for example, never be alone with him, not even in an elevator.
KELLY: That fear of retribution that you describe, that speaks to just how powerful Domingo has been and remains in the opera world.
TSIOULCAS: Very much so; he is one of the most popular and successful opera singers ever, Mary Louise. Most famously, he was one of the Three Tenors, alongside the late Luciano Pavarotti and Jose Carreras. And their first recording was the best selling classical album ever for years.
He's now 78 years old, but he has a really broad career even now. He still sings at places like the Metropolitan Opera. And he's also the general director of the LA Opera in California. He conducts orchestras around the world as a conductor, and he runs a really prestigious international competition for young, emerging singers. He still holds enormous sway in this business.
KELLY: OK, he has put out a statement. What is he saying about the allegations?
TSIOULCAS: Well, it's pretty interesting. Unlike some other men who have been accused in #MeToo allegations, Domingo issued something that isn't exactly a denial. He sent NPR a statement that says in part, quote, "the allegations are deeply troubling and, as presented, inaccurate. Still, it's painful to hear that I may have upset anyone or made them uncomfortable." And then he adds, "I believed that all of my interactions and relationships were always welcomed and consensual."
KELLY: I know that you have been doing your own reporting to supplement the AP's. What have you learned?
TSIOULCAS: The LA Opera announced today it's hiring outside counsel to conduct an investigation. The Metropolitan Opera says they will wait to see what comes out of the LA investigation. In the meantime, Philadelphia Orchestra and San Francisco Opera have rescinded invitations to Domingo.
KELLY: All right, that is NPR's Anastasia Tsioulcas, reporting there on these allegations first revealed by the Associated Press.
TSIOULCAS: Sure thing - good to be with you.
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