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OPERA

Spain’s Placido Domingo given standing ovation in Salzburg in first performance since sexual harassment claims

Opera legend Placido Domingo on Sunday received a standing ovation at the Salzburg Festival, his first performance since he was accused of sexually harassing women.

Spain's Placido Domingo given standing ovation in Salzburg in first performance since sexual harassment  claims
Placido Domingo seen on stage during the performance of "Luisa Miller" at the Salzburg Festival, on August 25th. Photo: AFP

“Triumph in Salzburg, standing ovation for Domingo despite the Me Too affair,” a headline in the regional daily Kleine Zeitung said, following his performance in the Giuseppe Verdi opera “Luisa Miller” at the annual music and drama festival in Austria.  

Eight singers and a dancer told the Associated Press earlier this month they were sexually harassed by the former member of the much lauded “Three Tenors”, in incidents going back to the 1980s.

In a report by the AP, several women, one of whom was identified, accused Domingo of using his position as one of opera's most celebrated singers to pressure them into sexual relationships.

The Los Angeles Opera has opened an investigation into the “concerning allegations”.   

Following the claims, the Philadelphia Orchestra Association withdrew its invitation for Domingo to appear in its opening night concert on September 18th.   

However, the head of the Salzburg Festival in Austria said Domingo would perform there as planned.

Madrid-born Domingo was one of the most recognised tenors of the 20th century, starring in alongside famous tenors Luciano Pavarotti and Jose Carreras.   

In recent years the long-time married opera star has transformed himself into a baritone and still performs to packed audiences at the age of 78.   

He has made more than 100 albums and picked up 14 Grammy awards. Earlier this year, he celebrated his 4,000th performance in a career that stretches back 60 years.

READ MORE: Spanish opera community jumps to Placido Domingo's defence in sexual harassment allegations

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OPERA

A Masked Ball: Madrid opera forced to cancel show after protest over social distancing

Spain's main opera house, the Teatro Real in Madrid, defended itself Monday after it had to cancel a performance when a small group of spectators loudly protested against being seated too close to each other amid a spike in Covid-19 infections.

A Masked Ball: Madrid opera forced to cancel show after protest over social distancing
View of the Teatro Real in Madrid. Photo: Claudia Schillinger/ Flickr

The performance of Giuseppe Verdi's “A Masked Ball” on Sunday night was called off after a “minority” of spectators repeatedly jeered and clapped despite being offered the chance to be relocated or get a refund for the value of their tickets, the theatre said in a statement.

Videos shared on social media by several spectators who were at the performance showed full rows in the upper sections where seats are cheaper, while in the pricier floor section many empty seats could be seen.

Clapping and calls of “suspension!” could be heard even after the actors tried to begin their performance.

The Teatro Real had “respected the health norms” put in place by the regional government of Madrid to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and “even reinforced them”, the chairman of the body which manages the theatre, Gregorio Marañon, told a news conference on Monday.

Attendance at the performance had been reduced to just 51.5 percent of the total, well below the  limit of 75 percent set by the regional government, he added.

The regional government does not require there to be an empty seat between spectators, but it does require there to be a distance of 1.5 metres (five feet) between people, or if this is not possible, that they wear face masks, which is mandatory at the theatre, Marañon said.

The Teatro Real, which celebrated its bicentenary in 2018, is studying “what measures we can take for those spectators who… clearly felt in an uncomfortable situation,” he added.

The incident comes as the regional government of Madrid has imposed a partial lockdown in several densely-populated, low income areas mainly in the south of the Spanish capital where virus infections are surging, sparking a debate about inequality and triggering protests in these neighbourhoods over the weekend before the new measures took effect on Monday.

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