How squeaky clean Placido Domingo’s reputation could be ruined by a string of sexual harassment claims
HE was the only member of the world- famous Three Tenors who seemed untainted by scandal – but now Placido Domingo finds himself facing a string of sexual harassment and abuse claims.
Unlike his fellow opera superstars Jose Carreras and the late Luciano Pavarotti, who had affairs that ended their marriages, the Spanish-born singer seemed a model family man devoted to Marta, his wife of 57 years.
Placido Domingo is wrapped up in a Harvey Weinstein-style ‘sex for stardom’ scandal[/caption]
One of his alleged victims is retired opera singer Patricia Wulf – she’s the only one of the original nine women who came forward that agreed to be identified[/caption]
Now that carefully cultivated image could be wrecked by disturbing accounts of his behaviour around female performers dating back 30 years.
In an echo of the allegations levelled against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, it is claimed Domingo used his power to pressure women into sexual relations — and his conduct was an open secret.
One woman, a dancer who worked with Domingo, said: “He used his power. He stalked women — he put them in positions of vulnerability.
“People have dropped out of the business and been erased because of submitting or not submitting to him.”
The dancer, along with eight female singers, told the Associated Press news agency they were sexually harassed by Domingo.
Six other women have since claimed they were the target of his “sexual overtures”, while dozens of others who worked alongside
Domingo say they witnessed his inappropriate behaviour.
People have dropped out of the business and been erased because of submitting or not submitting to him.
One of the alleged victims said the performer, who who has sung for the Queen and US presidents, had a “superstition that he had to be with a woman before a show” to relax him.
Another claimed he kissed her and touched her breast when he barged into her dressing room in LA.
The singer, who was 27 at the time of the incident in 1998, said: “I was totally intimidated. Saying no to him would be saying no to God.”
‘FELT LIKE PREY’
Feeling unable to escape his attentions, she kissed him but felt like “prey” when Domingo continued to pursue her afterwards. The experience caused her weight to drop dramatically.
Patricia Wulf, 61, is the only one of original nine women who came forward to agree to be identified.
The retired opera singer, who met Domingo at the Washington Opera in 1998, claimed he would accost her every night when she came off stage.
She said: “He would come right up to me, put his face right in my face, lower his voice and say, ‘Patricia, do you have to go home tonight?’”
“As soon as you get away, you think, ‘Did I just ruin my career?’”
Three women say Domingo forced wet kisses on their lips.
One, who was 23 and singing in the LA Opera when she first met Domingo in 1988, said Domingo kissed her while they were rehearsing an orgy scene.
Afterwards, she claimed he wiped his saliva off her face and whispered: “I wish we weren’t on stage.”
The opera legend is facing a string of sexual harassment and abuse claims that date back to 30 years ago[/caption]
Domingo’s private life rarely made the headlines at the height of his Three Tenors career, but now his reputation could be ruined[/caption]
Two accusers were so worried about their careers they agreed to have sex with the tenor.
One said Domingo “slid his hand down my skirt” after rehearsing an aria in LA in the mid 2000s.
An accuser who claimed he began pursuing her in 1988 at the LA Opera said she “finally gave in” in 1991 and slept with him twice.
On one of those occasions, Domingo — worth £150million — left a $10 bill, and told her: “I don’t want you to feel like a prostitute but I also don’t want you to have to pay to park.”
Seven of the nine women say their careers suffered from rejecting Domingo’s advances as promised roles vanished or they were never hired to work with him again.
TOLD NOT TO BE ALONE WITH HIM
Women were reportedly told never to be alone with him and to avoid alcohol if they had dinner with him.
Yesterday, Domingo was dropped from performing at concerts in San Francisco and Philadelphia.
The Los Angeles Opera, where he has served as general director since 2003, has launched an investigation.
And following the nine women’s bombshell allegations, others have come forward with their own tales.
Mezzo-soprano Cynthia Weinman, who worked on the Washington National Opera, said Domingo had an affair with a student. She has called for the opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program to be renamed.
Australian classical violinist Arna Alayne branded the singer a “creep” and “incredibly unprofessional” to her and another female musician in 2012.
The claims threaten to overshadow a glittering professional career spanning more than 60 years and 4,000 performances worldwide.
Domingo was born in Madrid but moved to Mexico City with his family when he was eight years old.
At 16, he secretly married Ana María Guerra Cué, a fellow student at the National Conservatory of Music. They had a son, Jose, but the marriage only lasted two years.
The Three Tenors, made of up Domingo, Jose Carreras and the late Luciano Pavarotti, made their debut at the 1990 World Cup in Italy and went on to perform at another three World Cups[/caption]
Domingo’s fame spread in the 80s and he was said to often have female fans and groupies following him, and he had a reputation as a flirt[/caption]
In 1959, he joined the Mexico National Opera. He married talented soprano Marta in 1962.
She gave up her career to devote herself to their two sons and to refining Domingo’s performances.
‘WOMEN FOLLOW ME TO MY HOTEL’
He said: “She finds what is not working, what is working. She concentrates on what I should do.”
In the 1980s, Domingo’s stardom rocketed.
He recorded a single with country singer John Denver, joined Julie Andrews for Emmy Award- winning TV special The Sound Of
Christmas and starred in an opera movie of La Traviata, directed by Franco Zeffirelli.
As part of the Three Tenors — who made their debut at the 1990 World Cup in Italy — he sang on the best-selling classical album of all time.
The trio performed at another three World Cups, including 1994 in LA.
Domingo has also sung at two Olympics closing ceremonies, won a Brit award and performed at a benefit concert following a Mexican earthquake that took the lives of four members of his family.
As Domingo’s fame spread, fans and groupies would be close by.
When asked about his female admirers on one TV interview, he said: “In some cases they follow you to your hotel. It’s embarrassing.
“I say, ‘I’m very sorry, but I’m in company’, even if I’m not.” But he had a reputation for flirtation.
One interviewer wrote in 2003: “Judging by the way Placido Domingo has reacted to female interviewers in the past, I am expecting to pass a happy afternoon as the object of unremitting flirtation. Perhaps, even, my arm will be stroked.”
‘THE STANDARDS ARE DIFFERENT NOW’
Domingo’s firstborn son, Jose, married and divorced as a teen — just like his dad.
One of Jose’s children, Ivonne, was raised by her mother and stepfather and only discovered her family heritage when she was 15.
She went on to appear nude in Playboy and met Domingo several times. He supported her financially as a young woman, sending her £750 a month for at least five years.
But in an interview in 2003, he said they were no longer in touch. It was reported in 2017 that another of Jose’s children, Katie Jordan, is a single mum living in West London.
She has also received financial support from Domingo, but has only met him a couple of times.
Marcia Lewis — the mother of Monica Lewinsky — hinted in her 1996 book The Private Lives Of The Three Tenors that she had an affair with Domingo. A Spanish newspaper rubbished her claims.
MOST READ IN NEWS
Domingo has denied the latest allegations against him.
He said: “I believed that all of my interactions and relationships were always welcomed and consensual.
“However, I recognise that the rules and standards by which we are — and should be — measured against today are very different than they were in the past.”
Some of his children and grandchildren followed in his famous footsteps, like granddaughter Ivonne Armant who appeared in Playboy[/caption]
Patricia Wulf says the opera legend would often make advances backstage – here she’s pictured with Domingo as he holds her daughter[/caption]
Classical violinist Arna Alayne says Domingo is a ‘creep’ and ‘incredibly unprofessional’[/caption]
When asked about his female admirers on one TV interview, he said it was ’embarrassing’ to have to turn them down[/caption]
Domingo has denied the allegations against him, saying that he believes all of his interactions were ‘always welcomed and consensual’[/caption]
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