#MeToo in Opera: It Was A Different Time Then

In the wake of the newest Placido Domingo investigation, I feel like I need to say something. “It was a different time then” is not an excuse! It’s a cop-out! #MeToo in the world of opera right now is alive and strong and it’s exactly what we need so that in 50 years from now we aren’t using the same excuse about today.

Opera Curtain
Opera curtain, what’s hiding behind.

Dear older generations of people who are using this phrase to justify ugly actions for their fellow gen-whatevers…

  • This isn’t an excuse.
  • Do you want to know how I know it isn’t an excuse?
  • Because not everyone behaved this way back then.

Sure, a lot of people did, i get it. A lot of executives did, a lot of powerful people did, could, and will continue to do so.

With that in mind, I would like to point out, with allegations popping up seemingly left and right, how many heads of companies and opera stars aren’t being called out for bad behavior right now.


A Different Time, My Foot!

When someone says, “It was just a different time back then,” isn’t that insinuating that everyone was okay with it? Are you calling all of our fathers and grandfathers out? Did they all behave this way? I’m sure more than we want to admit did, but what about all the guys out there who are the same age as the accused and didn’t bahave so poorly. They knew better!

I guess I have a really hard time lumping in an entire generation of people who all thought that, “sleep with me or else,” was just part of the privilege of being born before 1960.

This isn’t a comment on sexual promiscuity. People have the right to sleep with whomever they want when it’s consensual. This isn’t a comment on guilt either, especially as there are multiple investigations happening. I’ll leave that to the experts.

This is simply a comment on the growing allegations from many other people in our field, and how they’ve been explained off. If you haven’t read the “apology” letter from Bernard Uzan, here is the link. This quote bothers me:

“I come from a very different culture, I am of the sixties generation, which is not an excuse, but simply a fact, and I have made my mistakes throughout my life,”

Bernard Uzan

Although I appreciate the apology, it has interested me that it comes with a disclaimer that implies it’s not his fault, but instead his generation’s fault.

#MeToo did not Create Chivalry

Adults know what they are doing, men and women. Of course the bad behaving ones are usually men, but I am going on record and saying that if we use the excuse, “It was a different time then,” we are not only letting the guilty off the hook, but condemning a generation of good, well behaved people.

How about the truth that says something like, “I used to know better, and at some point I stopped caring.”

The problem is, I knew people knew better back then, because I know people were taught better back then. For example, the Boy Scouts of America. The end of the scout oath states:

“On my honor, I will do my best… to help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”

-Boy Scout Oath

Norman Rockwell Boy Scouts
Norman Rockwell Boy Scouts of America Painting

Do you know when the boy scouts were founded?

William Boyce founded the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910. Men knew then and know now how to behave lawfully and morally. They didn’t pull you aside after and say, “Be morally straight, unless you are a powerful man trying to get something from a person that he or she won’t give freely.”

Some chose and choose not to behave in a moral way and thank goodness for the #MeToo movement in opera and everywhere for giving all of us the courage to speak up to these people who absolutely knew better.

Thank you for reading and of course please don’t forget to subscribe and feel free to listen to some of my music 🙂

2 thoughts on “#MeToo in Opera: It Was A Different Time Then

  1. Qian Yi says:

    Joshua is so so so good! Kind and positive! Really like this article. Hard to write an article like this one if the writer is not simple enough which, is the hardest thing…

    1. joshuadennistenor says:

      Thanks for reading this! And for commenting. It makes me feel very happy that you appreciate reading this!

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