Breaking: Swedish opera star resigns over sex claims

April 29, 2018 by norman lebrecht


The international baritone Håkan Hagegård has resigned from the Royal Music Academy in Stockholm following allegations of sexual harassment.

Hagegård, 72, strongly denies the claims.

A radio documentary on Swedish classical music channel P2 last November titled ‘Don Juan at the music conservatory’ alleged widespread misconduct at Stockholm institutions without naming alleged perpetrators. No charges have been brought.

Unfounded allegations in Swedish media of bullying and discrimination led to the tragic death last month of Anne Sofie Von Otter’s husband, Benny Fredriksson.

Hagegård has made no comment. The Royal Music Academy issued a statement: ‘The Board of the Musical Academy welcomes Hagegård’s decision.’


Comments (12)

  1. Caravaggio says:

    Sad and shocking to read this. He was a wonderful singer. He was once married to Barbara Bonney, no? I had the pleasure of meeting him and thought of him as a charming individual.

  2. David Montague Rendall says:

    I have known, admired and performed with Håkan for over thirty years. I cannot believe these insinuations and accusations against him. He is and was a truly great artist and a dear friend. My support is with you Håkan at this most terrible time.

    1. Sue says:

      I’ve always really liked this singer and wondered where he’d gone!! I remember a performance very well of “Don Giovanni” from, I think it was, Drotningholm. Years ago. But he was superb – and such eye candy!!

      1. david Hilton says:

        He was also charming, and the only internationally known star, in Ingmar Bergman’s famous ‘Die Zauberflote’ film.

    2. Alex Davies says:

      First, he may well be proven to be innocent of these allegations. I know nothing of the case, so could not possibly comment.

      However, what I would say is that, sadly, almost everybody who does commit offences of this kind is somebody’s dear friend and is somebody whom people know and work with and admire. Almost every time, there are people who say that they cannot believe the allegations. Sometimes, those feelings are proven to be well founded. For example, based partly on personal knowledge and partly on what I had read and heard over the years, I suspected that the allegations against Edward Heath would be proven to be untrue, as, indeed, they have been (or so it seems). On the other hand, I think we were all astonished when the allegations about Rolf Harris turned out to be true. Only rarely is somebody accused and people say that they think that he did actually do the crime alleged. The two that come to mind are Mike Brewer and Philip Pickett. I’ve had the misfortune of crossing paths with them and was not remotely surprised to find out that they were even worse than I’d suspected. But these are the exceptions. Most people who do this sort of thing are well liked by friends and colleagues, and nobody can believe that they could have done anything like it.

  3. Barbara Eichner says:

    Please amend the headline. This is not about “sex”, this is about harassment.

    1. David Hilton says:

      An important clarification to make. Thanks.

  4. David Ricart says:

    My voice teacher told me before Thanksgiving, these allegations will spread to the opera world. It didn’t take long.

  5. Peter1589 says:

    WHAT??? SEX IN OPERA???? Surely you jest. Or at a MUSIC SCHOOL??? Unheard of. What other outrage of the natural order shall we suffer in these days of LGTB tyranny?

    1. Emil says:

      Ah, yes, it’s only the gays who want to live free of harassment. No one else. Absolutely no one.


    2. Alex Davies says:

      Sexual harassment. Not the same thing as sex.

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