A number of female opera stars have come out in defence of Placido Domingo after the singer was accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour by several women.
Domingo, 78, was accused of sexual harassment by eight singers and a dancer in international outlets but a host of Spanish opera stars have now leapt to his defence, calling him a “gentleman”.
Opera singer Ainhoa Arteta says she has known Domingo for 30 years and said: “I have no idea if he flirted or ‘pulled’. These things were done before and they are still being done, but I do know he is not a harasser, I put my neck on the line for that.”
The singer claims that when she read the reports of harassment, she went “into shock” and explained “a career of years cannot be destroyed”.
Arteta, who won the Operalia contest created by Domingo, told local TV channel Telecinco, that what has happened “is unfair”, adding: “He helped me a lot in the beginning of my career, and he has never, and I could say so swearing on a Bible and a polygraph, asked me for anything in exchange.
“I did Operalia (with him) and he never touched me. I won the contest and there was a jury. Careers are not made by sleeping with anyone, but with effort and learning. He is a gentleman above all, a man who could like women, what is wrong with that? How many men like women? In old times, it was called pulling if that is the best way of calling it, but from that to say that he is a harasser when he is the most gentlemanly and respectful person I have ever met in my entire life, never.”
The soprano singer, who was born in 1964, remembered that when she started her career people said “I was sleeping with Placido Domingo”, but she added “I have never had a relationship with Placido Domingo. And this unfounded rumour is believed by a lot of people… today it is very easy to slander and sink a person. It is totally unfair”.
Arteta commented that she cannot be a witness for all of Domingo’s relationships, but “he did have and had them with consent. I could never think that Placido could harass anybody and that the relationships were non-consensual.”
She added: “Maybe this lady was touched on the leg and she thought it was horrible but then you can say ‘do not touch me on the leg’. This cannot be done to Placido Domingo. He is dear, he is to be loved, maybe a different article with the contrary version could be written.
“It is a huge false accusation and this could do horrific damage. There is no evidence. Now we are destroying a human being who is a big and fundamental star in the opera world.”
Popular singer Paloma San Basilio, lamented the accusations, saying: “I strongly lament the comments made in the press about Placido Domingo and I can only claim that he was always a gentleman with me, a great workmate, a generous artist I had the privilege of sharing a stage with him.”
Soprano Davinia Rodriguez told local media that “I have never felt a minimum of evidence of harassment when I worked with him”.
Rodriguez has shared several stages with Domingo, such as in 2016 in Vienna during a performance of Macbeth or more recently in China with the opera ‘Thais’.
She said: “Every time I have been able to share productions with him he showed myself, my workmates and the theatre workers the upmost respect, with humility and generosity.
“I cannot say what it is true or a lie, because I was not there. But I can say that in the relationship with me he was a perfect gentleman and was very affectionate.”
Pilar Jurado, the president of the General Society of Authors and Editors (SGAE), said that the singer is “a perfect gentleman” who “has worked for years against gender violence” because he believed that “women deserve to go through life without having to watch their back, which is a situation that was getting worse with the years”.
She added: “There will be singers who had positive experiences with Domingo and others who had negative experiences. Neither of them should delete or exclude the other. And finally, a judge will be the one to decide”.
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