Plácido Domingo stepped down from performing at the Metropolitan Opera on Tuesday amid mounting pressure for the New York opera house to respond to allegations of sexual harassment against the legendary singer.
Domingo and the Met each announced the split the day before opening night of Verdi’s “Macbeth,” in which Domingo was slated to star.
“I made my debut at the Metropolitan Opera at the age of 27 and have sung at this magnificent theater for 51 consecutive, glorious years,” Domingo said in a statement, according to The New York Times.
He continued: “While I strongly dispute recent allegations made about me, and I am concerned about a climate in which people are condemned without due process, upon reflection I believe that my appearance in this production of ‘Macbeth’ would distract from the hard work of my colleagues both onstage and behind the scenes. As a result, I have asked to withdraw and I thank the leadership of the Met for graciously granting my request.”
Domingo said he would consider the last dress rehearsal for “Macbeth” as his final performance on the Met stage.
“The Metropolitan Opera confirms that Plácido Domingo has agreed to withdraw from all future performances at the Met, effective immediately,” the opera company said in its own statement on Tuesday. “The Met and Mr. Domingo are in agreement that he needed to step down.”
Domingo has faced scrutiny since August when several women came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Eight singers and one dancer told The Associated Press that the opera star had a history of pressuring women into sexual relationships in exchange for jobs and on occasion punished women professionally when they refused his advances. Three accusers said Domingo forcibly kissed them, and one woman said the singer stuck his hand down her skirt.
New allegations emerged earlier this month, with nearly a dozen additional women saying they had experienced unwanted touching, attempted kissing, late-night phone calls and relentless pressuring for private get-togethers from Domingo over the years.
Domingo has denied the allegations, saying he found them to be both “deeply troubling” and “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 in a statement in August.
The Los Angeles Opera, for which Domingo served as general director, launched an investigation into the claims following AP’s initial report. “We believe all employees and artists should be treated respectfully and feel safe and secure within their work environment,” the opera company said at the time.
The Metropolitan Opera previously said it would await the results of that investigation “before making any final decisions about Mr. Domingo’s ultimate future at the Met.”
Several other ensembles around the country ― including the San Francisco Opera, the Washington National Opera and the Philadelphia Orchestra ― canceled upcoming concerts featuring Domingo in the wake of the allegations.
The opera company hired outside counsel to investigate those claims, ultimately uncovering “credible evidence that Mr. Levine engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct towards vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers, over whom Mr. Levine had authority.”