LOS ANGELES - Placido Domingo, one of opera's most revered personalities, finds himself the owner of a badly sullied image today following accusations that for decades, he has tried to pressure women into sexual relationships by dangling jobs, then punishing women professionally when they refused his advances.
The accusations by nine women -- eight singers and a dancer -- are contained in a highly detailed 5,200-word article by the Associated Press. Additionally, almost three dozen other singers, dancers, orchestra musicians,
members of backstage staff, voice teachers and an administrator told the AP they witnessed inappropriate sexually tinged behavior by Domingo and that he pursued younger women with impunity.
Retired mezzo-soprano Patricia Wulf told the AP that Domingo hit on her with disturbing regularity.
"Every time I would walk off stage, he would be in the wings waiting for me," she said. "He would come right up to me, as close as could be, put his face right in my face, lower his voice and say, `Patricia, do you have to go home tonight?'"
Regarded as one of the greatest tenors of all time, Domingo, now a baritone, is also a conductor, the director of the Los Angeles Opera and a multiple Grammy winner. At 78, he still attracts sellout crowds around the globe.
Domingo would not answer specific questions from the AP but issued a statement.
"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."