Plácido Domingo Sends Apology Letter to Verona Mayor & Arena’s Superintendent for ‘Humiliating’ Performances

By David Salazar
(Photo by Catherine Ashmore)

Plácido Domingo has issued a statement apologizing to the Arena di Verona for his recent performances, which resulted in an onstage protest from the orchestra and a subsequent letter from the local union lambasting the showcases as “humiliating.”

During performances at the end of August, Domingo left the stage early during scenes of “Macbeth” that he himself had selected. Moreover, per reports, his conducting of ensuing moments from “Turandot” was so poor that members of the orchestra refused to stand with him to receive applause as a sign of protest.

Per Scherzo, Domingo sent a letter to the city’s mayor Damiano Tomassi and the superintendent of the festival Cecilia Gasdia where he attempted to explain what happened and offered up his services for the next year’s festival, which will be the centenary celebration of the Arena.

“I am aware that the level of my artistic performance as not at the level of my expectations or yours,” Domingo’s letter commences. “There are no excuses. I recognize that during those performances I overexerted myself. To be on stage and especially on the podium, concentration is fundamental. I trusted until the end that the positive energy of the full Arena and of all the workers would give me the strength to move ahead with those performances in which I tried to give my best for the audience even though I had traveled from afar. The gala was especially created for me and for that reason I apologize to all the workers of the Arena.”

He goes on to ask for the mayor and superintendent to thank all the workers on his behalf and especially to the members of the orchestra who did not stand up at the final applause because “they love their work and the Arena and that’s what I think their gesture means.” He went on to note that he was hurt by the decision of the orchestra members to not stand with him for the applause but recognized that as a musician that they were right.

The Sindacato Lavoratori della Comunicazione, SLC, which represents many workers at the Arena, had written a letter outraged over the quality of the performances (calling them among “the most humiliating”) and had asked for Domingo’s participation in the 2023 gala to be reconsidered. In his letter, Domingo asked that he be able to “give life to a performance that will be a celebration of all of you and your extraordinary history.”