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Four singers accuse a director of sexual come-ons

January 26, 2018 by norman lebrecht

7 comments.


Four singers, speaking anonymously, have raised concerns about an international opera director who mingles his professional messages with sexual innuendos such as ‘I am interested in you’ and ‘I love your legs’.

The director says this is nothing more than innocent flirting, a device common to his profession.

The singers say they feel threatened. They fear that refusing his advances will cost them work in future.

You can read their account here, in German.

We have heard of many similar episodes from other singers. It is so easy in the Facebook era for a director to contact colleagues off-site to make suggestions that he would not dare utter in front of others in the rehearsal room.

This is the new inappropriate.

Caption: No thanks, I’ve got rehearsal!


Comments (7)

  1. anon says:

    „Die Geschichte meiner Profession ist die Geschichte des Flirts“.

    Mr. Kochheim conflates flirting with abuse of power.

    Here’s a suggestion to Mr. Kochheim (and a test for all lecherous old men who think they are the Casanovas of their profession): put your picture and profile on Tinder, if no one is swiping right on you, it means no one is interested in you as you.

    1. Martain Smith says:

      Think your reference to age (“lecherous old) is as offensive as some of the acts up for discussion. I personally know two young women who have either married or been in relationships with men (Hollywood stars, incidentally) who could have been their grandfathers. Both said they had never enjoyed relationships like them – in all respects!
      So, young men; go and be lecherous – ANON won’t mind!

  2. Andreas B. says:

    I’m bewildered at how this man justifies his behaviour.

    in this instance, he was only guest director for one production –
    one doesn’t dare to wonder how he might treat his employees in the theatre he is in charge of at the moment (or of the theatre he used to run in Germany).

    at least he will not be invited back to Graz, where the reported incidents occurred:
    http://www.kleinezeitung.at/kultur/klassik/5359859/Nach-Vorwuerfen_Grazer-OpernChefin_Sexuelle-Belaestigung-ist

    1. Andreas B. says:

      small correction:
      in Germany he was ‘operndirektor’ (head of opera), not intendant.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It is difficult for those who have not experienced the German house system to understand how much power an Operndirektor wields.

    One Operndirektor of a German A house is (or was, until recently) quite overt in his harassment of female employees. When challenged by a male employee, his response was: ‘Shut the f*ck up! You don’t get to tell me what to do!’. Because he gets to hire and fire – and if the Intendant is of a like mind, or insecure, or can be blackmailed for his own sins – then he can fire anyone who displeases him. Because the Sprechers are now pretty much toothless and none of the overseeing bodies want to know…

    MeToo, yeah right…

  4. Charles Clark Maxwell says:

    The infamous Slatkin / Glennie “was it really an affair ?” incident was brushed off as flirting. Worth a read for all the tacky double entrendres :

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/2003/07/10/the-reliable-source/91940ab8-5354-46eb-9d41-b616fdb0fd77/?utm_term=.b51311acd6a9

  5. Gregor Tassie says:

    Liked the Soviet poster…..


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