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Plácido Domingo Resigns From LA Opera

Plácido Domingo at the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid in July.
Oscar Gonzalez
NurPhoto via Getty Images
Plácido Domingo at the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid in July.

Updated at 3:43 p.m. ET

The embattled opera singer Plácido Domingo resigned Wednesday as general director of LA Opera, the company that he helped found and that he led for more than 15 years. The news broke in the midst of two formal investigations into accusations of sexual misconduct made by 20 women about alleged incidents that took place between the 1980s and the 2016-2017 performance season.

Domingo is also withdrawing from all scheduled appearances there, including a run of Gaetano Donizetti's Roberto Devereuxnext February and March.

The singer's announcement was first reported by The Los Angeles Times .

In a statement sent to NPR, Domingo wrote: "I hold The Los Angeles Opera dearly to my heart and count my work to create and build it as one of my most important legacies. However, recent accusations that have been made against me in the press 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 LA Opera for me to resign as its general director and withdraw from my future scheduled performances at this time. 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 LA Opera continue to grow and excel."

The Los Angeles news comes in the wake of Domingo's departure from New York's Metropolitan Opera last week.

In a letter sent to LA Opera employees and shared by the company with NPR, president and CEO Christopher Koelsch thanked Domingo for his contributions, but emphasized that LA Opera's investigation into his alleged misconduct, which is being led by the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, will continue.

"Both the board and the senior staff believe strongly that it is important for that investigation to continue until its resolution – and it will do so," Koelsch wrote. "In the meantime, I want to reiterate that the leadership of LA Opera knows we must take further steps to guarantee we are doing everything we can to foster a professional and collaborative environment. It is imperative that we make sure all employees and artists feel heard, valued and respected, because you are."

A separate statement provided to NPR from LA Opera's executive committee of the board of directors emphasized Domingo's achievements in building the company.

"He is not only an outstandingly talented artist, but also the driving force behind the creation, development and growth of LA Opera," the committee wrote in part. "Under his leadership, LA 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."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Anastasia Tsioulcas is a reporter on NPR's Arts desk. She is intensely interested in the arts at the intersection of culture, politics, economics and identity, and primarily reports on music. Recently, she has extensively covered gender issues and #MeToo in the music industry, including backstage tumult and alleged secret deals in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against megastar singer Plácido Domingo; gender inequity issues at the Grammy Awards and the myriad accusations of sexual misconduct against singer R. Kelly.
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