Plácido Domingo

For the first time in nearly 16 years, the Los Angeles Opera is without its most well known member.

Last week, Plácido Domingo resigned from his post as general director of the opera amidst allegations of sexual misconduct made by 20 women earlier this year.

The move was announced on Wednesday, Oct. 2; nearly a week after Domingo’s withdrawal from the Metropolitan Opera’s season opening production of Macbeth. In a statement, Domingo said that the accusations “have created an atmosphere in which my ability to serve this Company that I so love has been compromised.”

“While I will continue to work to clear my name, I have decided that it is in the best interests of L.A. Opera for me to resign as its general director and withdraw from my future scheduled performances at this time,” Domingo’s statement continued. “I do so with a heavy heart and at the same time wish to convey to the company’s dedicated board and hard-working staff my deepest wishes that the L.A. Opera continue to grow and excel.”

In August, the Associated Press reported that nine women had come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct reaching back as far as the late 1980s and as recent as the 2016-17 season. In September, 11 more came forward with accusations.

Domingo has since denied the allegations but the Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Opera and Dallas Opera removed the singer from upcoming performances in the wake of the AP’s reporting.

One of the opera’s world’s most well known stars, Domingo, 78, has been a major part of the opera scene in Los Angeles for the past five decades as both a performer and administrator.

After a storied career as a tenor, Domingo pivoted to composing and administrative, accepting the position as the L.A. Opera’s Eli and Edythe Broad General Director in 2003. He also forged a new path on stage, accepting roles as a baritone.

The executive committee of the Los Angeles Opera Board of Directors released a statement thanking Domingo and highlighting the figure’s contributions to the organization.

“Under his leadership, L.A. Opera became known for its spirit of collaborative creativity and its ability to attract superb performers from across the globe — including Plácido himself, who delivered more than 300 performances in 31 different roles and conducted more than 100 times in Southern California over the course of the past five decades,” the statement said. “We thank Plácido for popularizing opera in the consciousness of Los Angeles and are deeply grateful for his inspiration and dedication to our institution and our community.”

In a letter circulated to employees, LA Opera president and CEO Christopher Koelsch ensured staff that regardless of Domingo’s contributions, an investigation into the claims would continue.

Debra Wong Yang, a former U.S. attorney and L.A. County Superior Court judge is leading the investigation for the law firm Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, and the American Guild of Musical Artists, the union that represents opera employees, is leading their own investigation into the matter.

If Domingo’s exile holds, his last performance with the L.A. Opera will be in Manuel Penella’s El Gato Montés (The Wild Cat), which ran in May.

As of press time, Domingo’s upcoming performances are largely in Europe, including stays in Switzerland, Russia, Austria and other Central European countries.

sthomas@timespublications.com.

©Los Angeles Downtown News