Placido Domingo to receive lifetime award in Austria

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FILE- In this Aug. 28, 2019, file photo, opera singer Placido Domingo performs during a concert in Szeged, Hungary. Domingo will make his first public appearance since recovering from coronavirus to accept a lifetime achievement award on Aug. 6 in Salzburg, Austria. (AP Photo/Laszlo Balogh, File)

SOAVE – Placido Domingo will make his first public appearance since recovering from coronavirus to accept a lifetime achievement award in Austria next week.

The famed tenor will receive the honor on Aug. 6 in Salzburg by the organization behind Austria’s Music Prize at an invitation-only ceremony. The award, chosen by a jury of journalists, recognizes Domingo, 79, as ‘’one of the best and most influential vocal actors in the world,’’ saying ‘’he has set international standards at the highest level for decades.’’

Domingo, who was treated for coronavirus in Mexico, will go on to perform this summer in Caserta, near Naples, and on Aug. 22 at the Arena di Verona in northern Italy, where he will also sing in a concert Aug. 28 and conduct on Aug. 29.

Even before the virus closed opera houses throughout the United States, Domingo saw his U.S. engagements canceled following reports last summer by The Associated Press detailing allegations of sexual harassment or inappropriate sexually charged behavior by more than 20 women.

Domingo denied the allegations, but after the American Guild of Musical Artists and LA Opera deemed the sexual harassment accusations to be credible, he issued an apology and then quickly amended it.

“My apology was sincere and heartfelt, to any colleague who I have made to feel uncomfortable, or hurt in any manner, by anything I have said or done,” he wrote. “But I know what I have not done, and I’ll deny it again. I have never behaved aggressively toward anyone, and I have never done anything to obstruct or hurt anyone’s career.”

European venues, meanwhile, have stood behind him, with performances canceled only due to closures forced by the coronavirus. Since European lockdowns have eased, classical music performances are gradually resuming and Domingo also has a full fall calendar, just months after recovering from the virus.

In a statement, Domingo welcomed the news of the Austrian Music Theater special prize “with great pleasure,’’ noting that it coincides with the 45th anniversary of his debut in Salzburg.

‘’It is such a delicate moment in history for all of us, for our health and for the health of the whole world,’’ Domingo said. ‘’The message of the Austrian Music Prize is simply wonderful: the promotion of the arts, and especially of music, is important to gain the energy for a new beginning.’’

The lifetime award previously went to German tenor Rene Kollo, U.S. mezzo-soprano Grace Bumbry, conductor Zubin Mehta and American tenor Neil Shicoff. The Austrian Music Awards were founded in 2014.


This story was first published on July 30, 2020. It was updated on July 31, 2020 to make clear that the singer amended an apology he originally gave in response to sexual harassment allegations.