Patricia Wulf is a retired opera singer and is one of the multiple women who is accusing the legendary Placido Domingo of sexual harassment. Wulf, 61, was the only woman who gave her name and allowed herself to be photographed for the Associated Press’s bombshell feature that dropped on August 13.
In total, nine women, eight fellow singers and one dancer, are accusing Domingo of inappropriate behavior. The women allege that Domingo sexually harassed them while offering them jobs. Other than the nine women, others came forward discussing their discomfort at Domingo’s alleged behavior. The report mentions that Domingo’s actions were an “open secret” in the world of opera.
Domingo has responded to the story in a statement that reads, “The allegations from these unnamed individuals dating back as many as 30 years are deeply troubling, and as presented, inaccurate. I recognize that the rules and standards by which we are and should be measured against today are very different than they were in the past. I am blessed and privileged to have had a more than 50-year career in opera and will hold myself to the highest standards.”
When asked about her motivations for coming forward, Wulf said, “I’m stepping forward because I hope that it can help other women come forward, or be strong enough to say no.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Wulf Says Domingo Was Relentless in His Pursuits of Alleged Victims
Wulf told the Associated Press that Domingo was relentless in pursuing women. Wulf told the AP, “Every time I would walk off stage, he would be in the wings waiting for me. He would come right up to me, as close as could be, put his face right in my face, lower his voice and say, ‘Patricia, do you have to go home tonight?’” Wulf’s response was, “I would say, “Yes! I have to go home tonight.” And I would walk away.
Wulf said that she encountered Domingo at the Washington Opera House in 1998 where Domingo was the artistic director. Wulf, said, through tears, “You have to understand that when a man that powerful — he is almost like God in my business — when he would come up that close and say that the first thing that goes through your mind is ‘What?!’” Wulf said that during an entire run at the Washington Opera House, she was constantly accosted by Domingo. Wulf said that she would regularly wonder if she had ruined her career by rebuffing Domingo’s advances.
Wulf said that she resorted to hiding behind pillars in attempts to hide from Wulf but “he would still find a way to get me.” Wulf also said that she would hide in her dressing room, peaking out to see if Domingo was around before leaving. One male colleague told Wulf that if she went public with her allegations, she would be fired, not Domingo. Wulf said that she had not been physically assaulted by Domingo but that his constant words “affected the way [Wulf] dealt with men for the rest of my operatic career and the rest of my life.
2. Wulf Is Married to Sculptor Richard Lew
Wulf is married to sculptor Richard Lew. The couple has two children together. Lew is mentioned in the AP report as attending a performance after-party. During that party, Wulf said that Domingo greeted her with a kiss and whispered in her ear, “I would like to meet my rival.” Lew told the AP that he eventually stopped asking his wife if Domingo had behaved inappropriately, he could tell from how she looked that it had happened.
Wulf and her husband live on a 33-acre farm in Virginia. The couple’s daughter is a medical student in Chicago while their son studies at Virginia Tech. In 2016, Lew did an exhibition of his photography. Some of those photos were taken during his honeymoon in Mexico with Wulf.
3. Wulf Sang as a Mezzo Soprano
Wulf was a mezzo-soprano singer during her long career. A 2018 bio says that Wulf began as a lyric soprano before switching to higher mezzo-soprano roles. That bio notes that Wulf sang with Placido Domingo “multiple times.” Wulf said that her favorite role is Mimi in La Boheme. The profile ends with a quote from the show reading, “There is nothing in the world quite like dying on stage.”
A February 1997 review of one of Wulf’s performances at the Washington Concert Opera in the Washington Post referred to Wulf as sounding “sounding tight up high during the opening aria from Strauss’s “Ariadne auf Naxos,” but warmed up as the evening unfolded and was a delicious drunk in “Ah, quel diner” from Offenbach’s “La Perichole.””
In 2004, Wulf released an album of Christmas standards with her friend Amanda Powell. A bio released upon the release of that album said that Wulf got her start at the Washington Opera House in 1997 and has also performed at the Kennedy Center in New York City. The bio says that Wulf is a supporter of Healthy Families, a charity that helps single mothers complete college education, and is an in-demand teacher maintaining a private studio at the Piedmont School in Virginia. Among Wulf’s more famous students was Tona Brown.
4. Wulf Is Now a Real Estate Agent in Virginia
The Associated Press reports notes that the other eight of Domingo’s accusers did not want to use their names as they still work in the opera world. According to Wulf’s LinkedIn page, she now works primarily as a real estate agent in Virginia. Wulf writes of her philosophy as believing “in absolute honesty, complete and full disclosure and I promise to give you exceptional service at every turn throughout your home buying and selling experience.”
Wulf notes on her LinkedIn page that she has worked with Placido Domingo, as well as Mirella Freni. Wulf writes, “While I miss the stage, lights, rehearsals, and most of all…dying on stage, I am very happy with real estate and the flexibility it gives me.”
Wulf received a Bachelor of Music degree from Catholic University in 1987 and also studied for a time at Kent State in addition to studying singing privately for 12 years in D.C. and New York City.
5. Placido Domingo Has Been Married to His Wife Marta Ornelas Since 1962
Domingo has been married twice during his life. His first marriage was brief, lasting between 1957 and 1958. In 1962, Domingo married Marta Ornelas. The couple has two sons together, Placido Domingo Jr., and Alvaro Maurizio.