August 14, 2019

#METOO DECIDES IT’S PLACIDO DOMINGO’S TURN IN THE STAR CHAMBER. “Women accuse opera legend Domingo of sexual harassment,” AP reports, in an article that looks like it’s been some time in preparation, given the mid-July date on the photo caption of one of his accusers, in a shot that AP very likely took to accompany the story. While Domingo’s photos are melodramatically composed and arranged to make him look as sinister (and at 78, as pasty and old) as possible, his accuser coolly stares down the camera. And it’s accompanied by the now-standard boilerplate:

The AP also spoke to almost three dozen other singers, dancers, orchestra musicians, members of backstage staff, voice teachers and an administrator who said they witnessed inappropriate sexually tinged behavior by Domingo and that he pursued younger women with impunity.

Domingo did not respond to detailed questions from the AP about specific incidents, but issued a statement saying: “The allegations from these unnamed individuals dating back as many as thirty years are deeply troubling, and as presented, 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. I believed that all of my interactions and relationships were always welcomed and consensual. People who know me or who have worked with me know that I am not someone who would intentionally harm, offend, or embarrass anyone.

“However, I recognize that the rules and standards by which we are — and should be — measured against today are very different than they were in the past. I am blessed and privileged to have had a more than 50-year career in opera and will hold myself to the highest standards.”

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written several times about the ongoing “Great Purge of 20th Century Mass Culture.” As the airbrushing of James Levine of the Metropolitan Opera, and the lack of attention to what would have been the 100th birthday of J.D. Salinger due to his “The Posthumous #MeToo-ing” illustrate, the higher arts and their practitioners won’t be immune to their own purges as well.

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