In what could be a last-minute u-turn, the superstar singer Plácido Domingo retracted on Tuesday from the Metropolitan Opera’s production of Verdi’s “Macbeth” and gave an indication he would not return to the Met, amid elevating rising worries over the company’s reaction to allegations that he had sexually harassed various women.
Mr. Domingo’s withdrawal just hours before the performance — the opening night was Wednesday — seemed as huge surprise as a growing number of people who work at the Met expressed their worries about his upcoming performances.
Other American cultural facilities, including the Philadelphia Orchestra and San Francisco Opera, had already canceled Mr. Domingo’s future appearances, referring to the need to ensure a safe workplace.
The backstage fiasco at the Met rose over in recent days, including at an intense and emotional discussion that Peter Gelb, the company’s general manager, held with orchestra and chorus members after the “Macbeth” dress practice on Saturday afternoon.
Some of those present during the meeting wondered what Mr. Domingo’s return would say about the Met’s commitment to protecting women and weeding out sexual harassment.
Three days later, Mr. Domingo announced in a statement to The New York Times that he has opted out of “Macbeth” — which would have been his first United States performance since the sexual harassment accusations were reported last month.
“I performed for the first time at the Metropolitan Opera at the age of 27 and have sung at this magnificent theater for 51 consecutive, glorious years,” Mr. Domingo said in a statement.
“While I strongly dispute recent accusations made about me, and I am genuinely worried about a climate in which people are condemned without due process, upon thinking I believe that my appearance in this production of ‘Macbeth’ would cause a distraction from the hard work of my colleagues both onstage and behind the scenes.
Realizing this important fact, I have requested to withdraw and I thank the leadership of the Met for being generous and granting my request.”