Scandal-hit Placido Domingo pulls out of London performance

A 2018 photo shows Placido Domingo during an event at the Manhattan School of Music in New York. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Opera great Placido Domingo, who has been hit by sexual harassment claims, has withdrawn from planned appearances at the Royal Opera House, the London venue said on Friday (March 6).

The 79-year-old performer, known as "the King of Opera", had been due to perform in director Nicholas Hytner's interpretation of Giuseppe Verdi's "Don Carlo" in July.

But the Covent Garden venue said it had "mutually decided" with the Spanish singer that he will no longer take part.

"We would like to confirm that we have received no claims of misconduct against Maestro Domingo during his time at the Royal Opera House and are sympathetic of his reasons for stepping down," it said in a statement.

"Placido is an outstanding singer and artist and we are hugely grateful for his support and commitment over many decades.

"We will announce the casting for his role in 'Don Carlo' in due course."

The opera is a co-production with the Norwegian National Opera and New York's the Metropolitan Opera.

Sexual harassment claims first emerged in 2019 against Domingo, who has had a glittering six-decade career, including as one of the Three Tenors with Jose Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti.

The first allegations, in which he is accused of forcibly kissing, grabbing or fondling 20 women in incidents from at least the 1980s, prompted a Los Angeles Opera investigation.

He later resigned as its general director.

Scheduled performances were then cancelled at several venues across the United States.

Domingo himself has denied the claims and said he believed all interactions and relationships throughout his career "were always welcomed and consensual".

He called the allegations, which emerged from the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct, "deeply troubling, and as presented, inaccurate".

Domingo has made more than 100 albums and picked up a dozen Grammy awards. In 2019, he celebrated his 4,000th performance in a career stretching back 60 years.

When the US allegations came to light, the Royal Opera House said it had a "zero tolerance policy towards harassment of any kind".

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