Opera superstar Placido Domingo will receive Mexico’s Batuta prize in classical music after all, organisers said Friday, a day after stating it would be withheld over a flood of sexual harassment accusations.
Domingo was chosen in May to receive the first edition of the prize in Mexico City during a ceremony this Saturday, along with 15 other honourees.
However, organisers said Thursday they had decided to put his award on hold “until all this has been clarified.”
Changing course again Friday, they decided Domingo would in fact receive the award, but would not attend the ceremony in person, instead addressing the gala by video.
“We wish to clarify that the organising committee has not withdrawn Maestro Domingo’s award. On the contrary, the classical music community celebrates the Spanish tenor’s six decades of absolute dedication to the arts,” they said in a statement.
Domingo “will personally address a special message to the ceremony,” they added.
“We are still going to give him the prize. We just hope for better times ahead and that everything gets better for him,” the head of the organising committee, Rene Platini, said.
The latest drama comes after Domingo, 78, resigned Wednesday as general director of the Los Angeles Opera, effectively ending his career in the United States.
He also withdrew last week from all performances at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Several other US opera houses have cancelled concerts featuring him because of the sexual harassment allegations.
Domingo is accused by 20 women of forcibly kissing, grabbing or fondling them, in incidents going back at least to the 1980s.
The “King of Opera” has responded that “all my interactions and relationships were always welcomed and consensual.”
Highlighting international fault lines in the #MeToo scandal, Domingo’s career has continued to thrive in Europe even as it is imperilled in the United States.
He performed to a chorus of bravos this summer in Austria and Hungary, and has upcoming concerts in Zurich and Moscow.
The Batuta, which organisers hope to make an annual prize, will be awarded to 16 honourees including British composer Michael Nyman, Mexican soprano Maria Luisa Tamez and Mexican conductor Enrique Batiz, who is himself facing sexual assault allegations.