Brigitte Fassbaender Speaks Out On MeToo Movement & Plácido Domingo

By Francisco Salazar

A week after Brigitte Fassbaender revealed in her memoir that Plácido Domingo was a womanizer that went after her, the legendary soprano revealed in an interview for Die Welt numerous secrets about the opera world and Domingo.

In the interview, the mezzo was not interested in going after the famed tenor because everyone knew about his womanizing. She stated that many women “sunk into his arms” and found it an “honor” to go to bed with the tenor.

She also noted that he flirted with her and attempted to seduce her but she always said no and he was polite with her. She said that they only went to dinner and that the only times they kissed was on stage doing Massenet’s “Werther,” a moment she could not avoid and one that Domingo took advantage of. In her book, she revealed that she felt pity for him because it was one of the first times he could not get what he wanted. “His fruitless approaches to me during rehearsals must have been exhausting for him,” she states in her book.

During this period, the mezzo also revealed that she was in love with Kurt Horres but he did not pay attention to her at that moment.

The interview also speaks about José Carreras and Giacomo Aragall who were also big flirts who thought themselves irresistible. According to the mezzo, many women would go to the dressing rooms to visit the tenors. 

In the interview, the mezzo said that as much as the tenors were flirts and womanizers, the conductors were the worst. Fassbaender revealed in her interview that the Metropolitan Opera knew about James Levine’s liking for underage children but did nothing because he was helping the theater and they needed him.

According to Fassbaender, conductors took advantage because they had power over their singers. She notes Karl Böhm was incredibly harsh and made singers cry and that Georg Solti gave his conquest presents. Carlos Kleiber was also mentioned in the interview with Fassbaender stating that he needed an affair everywhere.

The mezzo also spoke about the casting couch and said that conductors also looked in the orchestras.

The German singer also noted that she always said no to any insinuations and when she did, conductors or singers would stop. The one thing Fassbaender was unwilling to comment on was today’s accusations on the abuse of power nor to the allegations on today’s MeToo cases because she always defended herself when someone behaved inappropriately.

Fassbaender stated that she has learned to control herself particularly when it comes to screaming and that everyone is being more cautious now but that she is still appalled at auditions as she sees women enter with short skirts, large cuts and inappropriate makeup with many of the men already looking at the young singers.

She concluded the interview recalling MeToo moments in Innsbruck where she was Managing director at the Tiroler Landestheater. She stated that there were two incidents that occurred with tenors and that they were taken care of because the women immediately complained about it.