Spain axes Placido Domingo from Madrid performances

Spain's culture ministry on Feb. 26 cancelled a performance by opera star Placido Domingo, a day after he accepted "full responsibility" in a sexual harassment scandal. 

It is the first time an appearance by the storied tenor-turned-baritone has been called off in his native Spain since he was accused last summer of forcibly kissing, grabbing or fondling at least 20 women in incidents dating back to the 1980s.    

"Until now, the situation was different, there was a presumption of innocence," Culture Minister Jose Manuel Rodrguez Uribes told reporters.     

"But at the point when he said it actually happened - and we're talking about serious incidents involving many women - we decided we couldn't go ahead with him present and we told him."    

In a statement, the National Institute for Scenic Art and Music (INAEM) said he would not be appearing in two performances of "Luisa Fernanda" at Madrid's Zarzuela Theatre on May 14-15 "in solidarity with the affected women".    

Composed in 1932, the operetta - or zarzuela - is set to the backdrop of the revolutionary struggles that took place in Madrid in the 19th century.     

The performance would have marked 50 years since the 79-year-old's debut at the prestigious venue.     

Until now, Domingo's career has been less affected by the scandal in Europe than in the United States.

The accusations first began to surface in August. Two months later, he stepped down as general director of the Los Angeles Opera and withdrew from all future performances at New York's Metropolitan Opera, effectively ending his U.S. career.    

Several of the women said Domingo tried to pressure them into sexual relationships by dangling jobs, and then sometimes punished them...

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