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Number of women who claim opera star Placido Domingo sexually harassed them rises to 20

2019-09-06

The number of women accusing opera star Placido Domingo of sexual harassment hit 20 on Thursday. (ARMIN WEIGEL/AFP/Getty Images)

It was Angela Turner Wilson’s turn in the spotlight, her big break, but it was allegedly marred by sexual abuse at the hands of opera superstar Placido Domingo.

Wilson was 28 years old and cast as the second female lead in Jules Massenet’s “Le Cid,” at the Washington Opera during the 1999-2000 season. The legendary tenor was her costar and then the company’s artistic director.

“I knew this was the start of big things for me,” Wilson said.

Then, one night while getting her makeup done before a performance, she claims, Domingo slipped his hands under her bra straps, reached down into her robe and grabbed her bare breast.

“It hurt,” she said. “It was not gentle. He groped me hard." Domingo she claimed, turned and left.

The Washington Opera said in a statement that it is “disturbed and disheartened” by the new allegations.

Wilson is one of 11 women whose alleged abuse or harassment was revealed Thursday in an Associated Press story, bring the number of accusers up to 20.

“These new claims are riddled with inconsistencies and, as with the first story, in many ways, simply incorrect,” said Domingo spokeswoman Nancy Seltzer. “Due to an ongoing investigation, we will not comment on specifics, but we strongly dispute the misleading picture that The AP is attempting to paint of Mr. Domingo.”

In August, nine women accused the Spanish-born singer of harassment dating back to the 1980s, including undesired sexual advances, full kisses on the lips, late-night phone calls and unsought touching.

Former Los Angeles Opera production coordinator Melinda McCain said she tried protecting young singers from Domingo by ensuring they were never alone in rehearsal rooms with him. She also attempted to get him male dancers and invited his wife, Marta, to parties, hoping that would keep him in line.

“We created these elaborate schemes for keeping him away from particular singers,” explained McCain. “I never would have sent any woman of any sort into his dressing room.”

Wilson said she kept her groping quiet because she "felt that nobody else would say anything.” But when others spoke out, she realized something could be done.

"I know if I miss this opportunity and move on in silence, I will feel 20 times worse," she said. "It's a big burden to carry around through your life. And every time another #MeToo story comes out, I go into a dark place, and I'm tired of it."

The LA opera, where Domingo, 78, is general director, says it takes the claims “extremely seriously” but can’t comment on specifics because of an ongoing investigation.

Now a college voice teacher near Dallas, Wilson, 48, said she came forward for the sake of her young students.

“The music, the art, is so wonderful,” she said, “and I wish the business could at least have the integrity to give these young women a fair shot.”

With News Wire Services