Plácido Domingo Withdraws From Met Opera In Wake of Misconduct Allegations The opera star, who has been accused by 20 women, was scheduled to perform Verdi's Macbeth starting on Wednesday night. In an email, he told Met staffers that he will never perform there again.

Plácido Domingo Out At Metropolitan Opera Following Sexual Misconduct Allegations

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/764011716/764116767" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

NOEL KING, HOST:

The opera star Placido Domingo has withdrawn from a series of planned performances at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He was supposed to sing tonight, but some Met employees were upset about having to perform with him after 20 women accused him of sexual misconduct. NPR's Anastasia Tsioulcas has been following this story. She's with us now. Good morning.

ANASTASIA TSIOULCAS, BYLINE: Good morning, Noel.

KING: So I know that you've been following this story very doggedly. What did you find out? And did your reporting, as I understand it, contribute to Domingo pulling out of these performances?

TSIOULCAS: Yes. Well, I've reported a couple of stories over the last few days using Met sources. And late yesterday afternoon, the Metropolitan Opera's general manager, Peter Gelb, sent an email to staff that sources sent me. It said Domingo was withdrawing from all of his upcoming performances at the Met. And not only that, in a statement included in that email, Domingo himself said he will never perform at the Met again. And this is a singer who performed at the Met for 51 years in a row in over 700 performances.

KING: And now saying after 51 years he'll never perform at the Met again. I wonder, your sources, the people you've been speaking to, have they said anything to you about him ending his career at the Met, so to speak?

TSIOULCAS: I have, and I think it's important to mention that all of my sources asked for anonymity for fear of retribution in their workplace. One woman in the orchestra last night, for example, told me that she felt relieved that this situation is now over. But she noted it was an 11th-hour solution that came out of mounting media pressure. And I've heard from a lot of the public, as well, many who support the decision and some very upset fans.

KING: Oh, interesting that many people still support him. Well, what is Placido Domingo saying about stepping down? Is he defending himself at all?

TSIOULCAS: In that statement in that email to Met employees, he said he still disputes the allegations from 20 women who had come forward. But he acknowledged the strain that his presence was putting on his colleagues, Noel.

KING: So he acknowledges that him being there is sort of making a mess of things for the people who are singing with him given the attention. Now, I know that some of those colleagues - his colleagues told you that they felt that women's voices weren't being taken seriously at the Met. And they were especially upset by what general manager Peter Gelb said in a meeting on Saturday. What did Peter Gelb say exactly?

TSIOULCAS: Right. And this is how this reporting has contributed to the day we are now. The sources I spoke with were particularly upset about Gelb's contention that the women's allegations were anonymous and, in Gelb's estimation, uncorroborated. The allegations were first published by The Associated Press, and the AP reported it spoke to dozens of people who corroborated the allegations. And two of the women who came forward in those reports used their names. So one source texted me last night saying that it had taken over a month for the Met to act, and this person said, quote, "that illustrates management's lack of a moral compass."

KING: So, again, as is true of many of these #MeToo stories, you have just allegations that the people in charge are not taking the women who come forward seriously. I imagine that this will continue to roil through the Metropolitan Opera for weeks and months to come. NPR's Anastasia Tsioulcas, thank you so much for your really intrepid reporting on this story. We appreciate it.

TSIOULCAS: You're welcome, Noel. Thanks so much.

(SOUNDBITE OF BRYCE DESSNER AND AARON DESSNER'S "ST. CAROLYN BY THE SEA")

Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.