Luz del Alba Rubio, Uruguayan soprano with Italian and American citizenship who during the #MeTooo movement accused the tenor Plácido Domingo of harassment and abuse, requested and obtained a correction to Republic, after the interview given by Domingo to Giuseppe Videtti e published in the newspaper last August 6.
Domingo had given his version balancing between an admission of regret and a refusal to accept the apology as it was presented. He then referred to the investigation opened on him by AGMA, the American musicians union, which concluded that the allegations of harassment against him were credible (as a result, Domingo had been expelled from several US theaters). In the interview with Domingo, then, the journalist Giuseppe Videtti, premising that “by now anyone who feels authorized to rant in the sacred name of #metoo, raging on the opera giant”, had written among other things that Luz del Alba Rubio had participated «To the broadcast of Radio 3 La Barcaccia without being able to express the facts clearly and limiting himself to a series of allusions ».
In the interview published today, Luz del Alba Rubio explained that she was never confused, confirmed the allegations of harassment explaining their dynamics, told about the consequences and talked about what the #MeToo movement represented for her: ” Everyone asks me, why after twenty years? It is not easy to denounce facts concerning such an important and powerful person; Domingo was the king of the opera, the whole theatrical universe revolved around him, it was like attacking God! When the #metoo movement exploded in the US, it was a liberation for all frightened and blackmailed women; the Weinstein case gave all of us courage. The time had come (to report) and so it was ».
When did the events you dispute with Plácido Domingo happen?
I met Domingo during an audition that I took on June 14, 1999, in Rome. I had just participated in the famous Radio 3 program, La Barcaccia, the most important Italian broadcast dedicated to Opera. He liked me very much and immediately invited me to take a further audition in Washington, where he was artistic director. From that moment a real telephone stalker began: he called me even in the middle of the night. Once, at past three – I was sleeping next to my husband – he said to me: “Ah, I don’t want to make my rival jealous!” When she arrived in Washington, after the audition she signed me for Parsifal, Tales of Hoffmann and Carmen; and later for Traviata in Los Angeles. His wife, Marta, was immediately very suspicious of me, she had an inquiring attitude: “Why are you here?”. I explained that her husband had called me, but she, who was in charge of the direction, was very hostile, she didn’t let me try, she kept me on the sidelines. Domingo, on the other hand, was nagging, he would go into my dressing room, my apartment or invite me to his on the pretext of seeing a video of my Traviata together. Me sitting on the sofa, him approaching more and more extending his hands. Can imagine. I had to call a friend of mine, taking advantage of a moment when he had gone to the bathroom, to come and rescue me. She knocked on the door, so I could put an end to the advances; Tosca type in the second act, you know.
Can I ask you what was the extent of the harassment? Was it advances, inappropriate behavior or violence?
They were advances, inappropriate behavior and even violence, because his every attempt was rejected by me with determination. He did not admit the refusal, the harassment continued over time, he did not give up. The worst thing is that he abused his power: we were in a job, he was my “boss”, I was ashamed for him. Kisses too close to the mouth, obvious approaches, the invitation to his private apartment where the violence was also physical because he kissed and did not want to be rejected. It was my friend (who testified) who put an end to this harassment. The American Musicians’ Union (AGMA) has finally had a chance to investigate on a regular basis because this topic has become prominent on the front page.
(The Agma investigation concludes that there has been no abuse of power but “inappropriate behavior ranging from flirting to courtship”, ed).
You are an artist, a cultured, independent person; why didn’t she go to the authorities before she went to a news agency?
When the #metoo exploded, some colleagues who knew my story told journalist Jocelyn Gecker about my case. Consider that before the #metoo, facts such as harassment, abuse of power and the like were not given much importance. Consider also that in Uruguay until a few years ago a woman could not say “no, that’s enough!” – for women these are very recent achievements. Even today there are those who do not believe me, imagine years ago.
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