• Zach Finkelstein

BREAKING: Plácido Domingo resigns from US singer union, will not perform at top US opera houses

In a memo released to all union members on March 20th, the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) announced that Plácido Domingo "permanently resigned from the union, effective immediately". The memo noted, according to multiple AGMA member sources, that Domingo "will make a $500,000 contribution to the AGMA Relief Fund to help AGMA members in crisis and to conduct training and education to eradicate sexual harassment in our industries", and that "the charges against Domingo have been withdrawn and will require no further action by the Union".


This is the final chapter of a story first covered on February 25th, by Michael Cooper of the NY Times, which detailed the leaked findings from an AGMA report on sexual harassment claims against Plácido Domingo. The report stated that Domingo “engaged in inappropriate activity, ranging from flirtation to sexual advances, in and outside of the workplace.” The Associated Press, in a follow-up report, discovered that "the investigators had spoken with 27 women who described various behaviors including unsolicited kisses on the mouth, groping, and late-night phone calls" (Cooper, February 25, 2020).


Ten days ago, the NY Times released the results of the L.A. Opera's recent investigation of Domingo, which confirmed a pattern of "inappropriate behavior" with 10 women between 1986 and 2019, that the opera company "deemed credible" (Cooper, February 25, 2020).


As it stands, Domingo's resignation will mean he will not be able to perform at the leading US opera houses and some of the largest budget orchestras in America, including Washington National Opera, the organization that, until recently, called its resident training program the "Domingo Cafritz Young Artists Program". According to publicly available information and multiple AGMA sources, these union-signatory organizations include:


  • the Metropolitan Opera

  • Los Angeles Opera

  • San Francisco Opera

  • Houston Grand Opera

  • Dallas Opera

  • New York City Opera

  • New York Philharmonic

  • Arizona Opera

  • Los Angeles Opera

  • San Diego Opera

  • Santa Fe Opera

  • Chautauqua Opera

  • Chicago Opera Theatre

  • Cincinnati Opera

  • Lyric Opera of Chicago

  • Lyric Opera of Kansas City

  • Michigan Opera Theatre

  • Florentine Opera

  • Opera Theatre of St. Louis

  • Central City Opera

  • New Orleans Opera

  • Opera Philadelphia

  • Florida Grand Opera

  • Washington National Opera

  • Wolf Trap Opera

  • Lyric Opera Baltimore

  • Pittsburgh Opera

  • Boston Lyric Opera

  • Portland Opera

  • And Seattle Opera.


Some esteemed non-signatory companies, such as Sarasota Opera and Des Moines Metro Opera, could technically hire Domingo. And, in theory, he could be hired at one of the above companies if he rejoins the union.


But according to Domingo's own words, he is "permanently resigning".


And if he did rejoin the union, he would likely face potential disciplinary charges that have been dropped after his resignation. As one AGMA member put it, "while Domingo’s resignation from AGMA does not prohibit him from attempting to rejoin AGMA, the strong implication is that his time upon American opera stages is at an end."


More to follow as the story develops.


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