WNO strips Domingo’s name from young artist program

Tue Mar 03, 2020 at 12:31 pm

Washington National Opera has removed Plácido Domingo’s name from the young artist program he created in 2002 when the celebrated singer and conductor served as the company’s artistic director. The move comes in the wake of several allegations of sexual harassment and unprofessional behavior against Domingo, 79, and subsequent calls for his name to be removed from the WNO program.

In a statement released Tuesday, WNO acknowledged Domingo’s past work with the company, stating “WNO respects and acknowledges Mr. Domingo’s singular artistic legacy and contribution to the opera field and to WNO.”

Yet, it continued, “in light of recent developments” the company announced that the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program would henceforth be titled the Cafritz Young Artists of Washington National Opera. The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation is the co-founder of the program and has continued to support it for the past two decades.

WNO also noted that Domingo stepped down from his WNO post in 2011 and has not been active with the company or its apprentice artist program since then.

The long-anticipated move by the Kennedy Center’s opera company comes after the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) announced Monday that it had filed formal union disciplinary charges against Domingo for sexual harassment. Last week AGMA concluded its investigation of Domingo, which substantiated sexual harassment allegations against the Spanish singer.

“AGMA stands with the brave individuals who came forward and fought against the crisis of sexual harassment that greatly pervades our industries,” said president Ray Menard, in a union statement.

 “Given the seriousness of the confirmed allegations, and the number of members who have been affected, I believe the right, and only thing to do at this stage is to begin formal disciplinary procedures by filing charges against Mr. Domingo.”

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