LA Opera deems Domingo misconduct accusations credible

Placido Domingo won worldwide acclaim in the 1990s as one of the Three Tenors (AFP Photo/Attila KISBENEDEK)

Los Angeles (AFP) - The Los Angeles Opera said on Tuesday its investigation into star Placido Domingo had found accusations of "inappropriate conduct" against its former director to be credible.

The Spanish icon, who won worldwide acclaim in the 1990s as one of the Three Tenors alongside Jose Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti, is accused of forcibly kissing, grabbing and fondling women over a period of more than 30 years.

An independent law firm hired by the company to investigate said that while some of Domingo's targets stated they were "not uncomfortable," others described "significant trauma."

"Some individuals stated that they felt discouraged to report misconduct due to Mr. Domingo's importance and stature," a summary of the findings read.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP interviewed 44 people during a six month investigation -- including some behind the 10 accusations under review, the LA Opera's management and Domingo himself.

The misconduct is alleged to have occurred between 1986, when the tenor-turned-baritone was appointed artistic advisor, and August 2019 -- when he resigned as general director after the allegations became public.

The LA Opera findings said Domingo cooperated with the probe and was willingly interviewed, and continued his flat denials of unwanted contact, saying his relations with women were consensual.

"Gibson Dunn often found him to be sincere in his denials but found some of them to be less credible or lacking in awareness," the summary said.

The 79-year-old "King of Opera" recently apologized for any "hurt" he caused, but rolled back the mea culpa after it triggered a backlash and cancellations in Spain.

Findings from a separate union investigation several weeks ago concluded that Domingo had engaged in "inappropriate activity, ranging from flirtation to sexual advances, in and outside of the workplace."

Domingo stepped down from the LA Opera last fall and withdrew from performances at New York's Metropolitan Opera, effectively ending his US career.

His status has since faltered in Europe -- where until recently he was still receiving standing ovations -- as he was dropped from performances in Spain and at London's Royal Opera House.