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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Plácido Domingo drops upcoming shows at Spanish opera venue

MADRID (AP) — Plácido Domingo has canceled his upcoming performances at one of Spain’s main opera houses as officials and music venues in the tenor’s home country reassessed their ties with the global star after he apologized for sexually harassing women over the course of two decades.

A statement from the Teatro Real in Madrid said that Domingo himself had taken the step of canceling his part in the upcoming “La Traviata,” with five shows scheduled in May, ahead of a meeting Thursday in which the venue’s patrons were to decide on his case.

The announcement came as some Spanish public institutions and theaters continued to sever ties with the singer, who has long been hailed as a “maestro” and has been a source of pride for many in the country.

One of those was the Palau de les Arts, a publicly funded, state-of-the-art opera house in the eastern Spanish city of Valencia. The establishment announced Thursday that, “in line with the values of the institution,” it would strip the tenor’s name from its popular training program for opera singers and ruled out any future contracts with Domingo.

“The institution considers that any conduct against the integrity of women, whether moral, sexual … is intolerable,” the Palau de les Arts statement said.

A musical association in the city of Úbeda also announced Thursday on Facebook that it was canceling Domingo’s scheduled performance for May 3 in light of this week’s developments.

Earlier in the day, the country’s Teatro Real said that after learning about Domingo’s own cancellation, the opera house “reaffirms its policy of zero tolerance of harassment and abuse of any kind, and its permanent solidarity with the victims.”

On Wednesday, the Spanish government called off two other upcoming performances by Domingo in the Spanish capital, making Spain the first country in Europe to cancel on the megastar since the allegations from women surfaced last year in the United States.

The Culture Ministry said the cancellation was in support of the women who have accused the tenor of misconduct and take a stand against sexual harassment.

The opera star on Tuesday responded to an investigation that found his behavior had been inappropriate when he held managing positions at the Washington National Opera and the Los Angeles Opera by apologizing for “the hurt” he had caused women.

People familiar with the probe by the American Guild of Musical Artists, one of the two independent inquires launched last year, told The Associated Press that 27 people are claiming they were sexually harassed or witnessed inappropriate behavior by Domingo.

His response, taking “full responsibility” for his actions, marked a stunning reversal from his initial statements in which he had denied wrongdoing. Many commentators, politicians and fellow artists in Spain defended him when AP first reported the allegations last year, even when U.S. companies swiftly moved to cancel performances and sever ties with the singer.

Barring Spain’s recent moves there have so far been no other cancellations in Europe, where his next scheduled show is on March 22 in Hamburg, Germany.

On Thursday, the Verona Arena said its policy is to not cancel events already on the published program and for which tickets have been on sale for 10 months. Domingo is scheduled to conduct “Aida” there on June 25, and to sing in a gala dedicated to him on July 7.


AP writer Colleen Barry in Milan contributed to this report.

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