Last Friday, at the conclusion of the execution of the Turandot by Giacomo Puccini at the Verona arena, the members of the orchestra refused to stand up, welcoming the nod from the conductor, the Spanish tenor Placido Domingo, who invited them to take the applause from the audience. For the rigid etiquette of the opera and of orchestral music in general, it was a rather blatant protest, directed against one of the most famous opera singers in the world, for some years frowned upon by the environment and the world of culture. as accused of sexual harassment by numerous workers in the sector.
The protest of the Verona orchestras, however, had different reasons: they accused Domingo of not having behaved professionally during the preparation of the show. The Communication Workers Union of the CGIL of Verona, with a letter addressed to the foundation that manages the Verona arena and speaking on behalf of “choir artists, orchestra professors and stage technicians”, accuses Domingo of having only occasionally introduced himself to rehearsals – defined however “embarrassing” – and of not having been able to conduct the orchestra correctly.
The result, writes the union, was a mediocre spectacle, in which “all the workers felt abandoned to themselves on more than one occasion, risking several times to go all upside down”. According to the musicians represented by the union, “that of the 26th was one of the most humiliating evenings for the whole artistic sector”, which is why the orchestra refused to stand up after the show was over.
Domingo has been very famous for decades in the world of opera, and is also a sought-after conductor: in the past he had already directed that of the Verona Arena. The harsh criticism of him did not concern only the show on August 26, but also that of the previous evening, entitled Domingo in Verdi Opera Night and dedicated to the tenor: both shows, writes the union, were completed only thanks to the “professionalism of the artistic and technical workers of the Arena Foundation”, which “allowed the event not to turn into a gigantic failure”: the result of the two evenings was however “bad”, added the union.
On this basis, the union argued that Placido Domingo «does not [è] at the height of his fame »and asked for the cancellation of the show that Domingo himself should direct next August on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Arena Opera Festival, the opera festival that takes place every summer at the Verona arena.
In recent days there have been other protests against Domingo in Verona. The workers and seasonal workers of the Areniano 2022 Festival (supported by feminist movements and other associations) wrote a letter to Mayor Damiano Tommasi to express their dissent regarding Domingo’s presence in the Arena and to ask for the 2023 show to be canceled. are the allegations of sexual harassment that in recent years numerous workers in the opera sector have addressed Domingo, which in the past had led to the cancellation of some of his performances and the resignation from his position as general director of the Los Angeles Opera, a of the most important opera companies in the world. Recently, against Domingo, there have been new accusations.
Already in 2020, precisely because of the allegations of harassment and abuse against her, the feminist movement Non Una di Meno in Verona, supported by individuals and other associations, had protested by sending an open letter to the superintendent of the Arena Foundation Cecilia Gasdia, then distributed to the public of Domingo’s concert.
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