Renowned opera singer Andrea Bocelli is coming to the defense of another musician accused of sexual misconduct by 20 women, pointing out that many artists have "dubious morality."
Bocelli, perhaps the most famous classical singer in the world, said it is "absurd" to issue "moral judgment" against one of his longtime contemporaries, Spanish singer Plácido Domingo. Bocelli, who is Italian, spoke to the Associated Press with the help of a translator.
"I am still appalled at what happened to this incredible artist," Bocelli reportedly said before indicating that the situation made him nervous about his own career. "I don't understand this. Tomorrow a lady can just come up and say 'Andrea Bocelli molested me 10 years ago,' and from that day on, no one wants to sing with me anymore; the opera houses won't call me anymore. This is absurd."
Alleged "sexually inappropriate" behavior by Domingo, 78, was described to the Associated Press by orchestra musicians, backstage staffers, vocal coaches, dancers and others in his field. Many accusers said Domingo "tried to pressure them into sexual relationships and sometimes punished him professionally if they rejected him."
One female singer described an incident during which Domingo allegedly "grabber her bare breast under her robe."
Bocelli, 61, said that the accusations should have no effect on Domingo's career unless he is convicted of a crime. In that event, he said, he would re-evaluate his standing on Domingo as a person, but not as a musical artist.
“Whenever that happens, then the moral judgment against this person would of course change on my end, but not the artistic judgment, because they are two different things,” Bocelli said. “There have been in the past many artists who have dubious morality. One is the moral one, which must be dealt with in courts and here on Earth and by our good Lord up in the skies. Then there is an artistic judgment, which is subjective, and up to each one of us.”
After the allegations were made public, Domingo withdrew from all of his U.S. performances and resigned as general director for the Los Angeles Opera, but his European schedule is still intact: "We do not see any reason why we should change our opinion if there are no new facts," said Helga Rabl-Stadler, the president of the Salzburg Festival, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary next year with Domingo as a headlining performer.
Bocelli will begin his U.S. tour next month.