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A new claim against a Met staff conductor is challenged

December 17, 2017 by norman lebrecht

57 comments.


The New York Post has come up with a claim of sexual molestation by a visiting assistant conductor against Joseph Colaneri, a veteran member of the Metropolitan Opera conducting staff (see Update below).

The anonymous complainant alleges that in 2001, when she was 25, Colaneri exposed himself and made her touch his penis as they sat in the opera house in San Francisco watching a performance of La Traviata.

Colaneri, now 62, has been on staff at the Met since 1988. He is also music director at the Glimmerglass Festival.

There is no corroboration available for the Post report here.

UPDATE: Doubts are cast on New York Post allegations


Comments (57)

  1. Ungeheuer says:

    Here we go again. I imagine the Met Opera’s GM and its HR folks must be scurrying around like mice in panic. After the current GM steps down, the new GM better come up with advance robust vetting of the timebeaters they hire. One wonders how many will be running for the exits, if they ever enter the auditorium again.

    1. Samuel Ramey says:

      This story is a lie!

      1. Mille says:

        This story is a lie told by a known liar. She, whom many know in the most disgusting light, know her to tell stories that always seem to make her out to be a victim. All her lies make HER out to be the one used and abused by men, but it is not true. It never ever was. She is a black hole of deception, lies, bullying, blackmail, and venom. People need to step up and start defending Colaneri and call [redacted] out for her lies and deception. She is also discrediting REAL victims of sexual assault.

    1. Steven Bryant says:

      Another break for the wealthy! Fox will be able to write it off, yet a smaller corporation will not (though with the corporate tax going down, maybe they will be able to harass as usual).

      What is not fair is that the victim was not outed. And the conductor has his life in disarray. I have a good idea of who the victim might be (the opera world is small with a big memory) and she has a history of stalking, and pretending to be a victim. I notice that the times has not yet jumped on to this story! Word on the street is that people who barely know each other are putting two and two together. We have to be careful when the “me too” movement is propelled forward. Damaging innocent people collaterally does not help the real victims.

      1. Janet E. says:

        Steve Bryant is correct about the efficacy of the alleged, “anonymous” victim. This is a very unhealthy attempt to bring down a conductor with impeccable professionalism and character. In this case I fear that he is the one being victimized. The Post should have done their homework or maybe real journalism before the article was published. I think, they owe the “me to” movement an apology because this accuser cheapened the rest of “we too”. There are many people in the industry that had done inappropriate things, some criminal.So as I strongly support people changing the culture for the better, I have to ask, what happens in the current environment when an innocent person is accused publicly?
        In the past day I have heard from so many singers and conductors that found the story not only implausible, but appallingly labeled on a fine human being.

  2. Patrick says:

    Well, I’ll never read this text in quite the same way again….

    “Addio, del passato bei sogni ridenti,
    Le rose del volto già son pallenti;
    L’amore d’Alfredo pur esso mi manca,
    Conforto, sostegno dell’anima stanca
    Ah, della traviata sorridi al desio;
    A lei, deh, perdona; tu accoglila, o Dio,
    Or tutto finì.”

  3. Una says:

    Here we go again. The more I hear about all of this, the more I think if the ‘victim’ can remain anonymous, then so should the other one until he or she is found guilty and not ruin people’s lives. You can now get done for putting your hand on someone’s shoulder, or, as the case of one of our British journalists, on your knee! Just wonder what kind of sterile, cold human beings we are building up for the future. And no wonder we hardly have any male primary school teachers in Britain compared to the number of females – scared to join the profession incase some kid falls over in the playground, and he picks the child up and give them a hug, and then gets done for abuse! We could just do with a break in all of this, and wait until people are convicted, not heresay or gossip. Then we might find out the real abusers and the real victims, and not have to deal with the chancers in some cases.

    1. Ungeheuer says:

      Let us hope you never become the target of this sort of personal and professional abuse and degradation. You have forever forfeited your right to complain or confront the abuser(s).

      1. operacentric says:

        Not at all – it doesn’t prevent or limit the ability of a victim to make a complaint. What it would prevent is the accused, who is innocent under the law until proved guity, remember, being dragged through the press and social media following what can be an unfounded and malicious accusation.

        Much debate on this in the UK following the collapse of a trial for 6 alleged rapes/indecent assaults collapsed last week following the emergence of evidence proving the accused’s innocence and the accuser a liar which had been withheld from the defence lawyers. The accused suffered 2 years torment and their name will forever be linked with the alleged rape whereas the ‘victim’ (who is still being described as such despite having been the initiator of false accusations) retains their anonymity for life.

    2. harold braun says:

      Spot on!

  4. Millie says:

    It’s got to be [redacted], a known liar and sociopath. She lies and makes herself out to be a victim to the men she tried to seduce over the years, (it has happened MULTIPLE times) for pity and sympathy, and she is just a general nightmare of a human being. She preyed on taken men for years. I bet you anything she lead him on to elevate her position at the time, and now wants to claim that she was victimized by turning the story around (AGAIN) and making herself the victim so people will feel sorry for her. She really is bad news, and will lie about anything to get what she wants.

    1. Millie says:

      SO her name was redacted but if you search harlem coffee shop supporting gay marriage you will find a name of a woman, a pianist, in the article. Do a little research and the times line up. It’s her…

      1. Bruce says:

        Interesting.

      2. La Verita says:

        Yes indeed, this cracked-pot launched an unhinged attack on the Chipped Cup Cafe!

        1. Max says:

          I work on the fringe of the opera business in NYC and upon reading the article, I knew immediately who was behind the accusations. I need to add my voice to those who have spoken here to say her long history and behavior give this story ZERO credibility. I crossed paths with her once in my life and she is an angry deranged psychopath. That poor conductor I never met somehow found himself the focus of her anger, if this proves to be unfounded (like every time with her) then I hope this time she pays for her actions, and people in the business need to stop tolerating her and hiring her.

  5. anonanon says:

    This is really getting to the level of the National Enquirer.

    What next?

    Met Opera Chorus Member Abducted by Aliens from Stage During Matinee Performance of Carmen. “I was anal probed, and it was the most humiliating experience in my life since James Levine pointed a finger at me 5 years ago during rehearsal in front of the entire chorus” Full Story Inside!!! Plus, what your horoscope says about you…and James Levine!!!!

    1. Sharon says:

      With all the holographs and other visual effects being used at the Met, an “alien” or ghost abducting a chorus member may not be too far off the mark!

      1. Mr. Schwa says:

        Good point!! It sounds like one of these stupid directorial ‘concepts’. No wonder they can’t sell tickets. So much for Gelb’s great vision of building a new audience. Dumb things down beyond recognition.

    2. Been Here Before says:

      The NL Show, to be modelled after The Jerry Springer Show… streamed on-line and including special appearances by the dirty uncle Jimmy and chair throwing sopranos!

    3. harold braun says:

      Spot on!And please,let´s found out now whom Mitropolous abused in 1942 and whom Stokowski groped in 1926!

    4. harold braun says:

      Spot on!And please,let´s find out now whom Mitropolous abused in 1942 and whom Stokowski groped in 1926!

  6. Another Hasbeen says:

    Just to be clear, the alleged incident happened in San Francisco in 2001. It had nothing to do with the Met.

  7. Philippe Artéaux says:

    Several explanations could be considered for this sudden and unprecedented wave of purported molestation cases after decades of silence and coverup:

    –diversion from much more serious depradations in the highest circles
    such as human trafficking and pedophilia
    –elimination of expensive mid-range operatives no longer required by the elites
    — in the case of purported male-female predation, the pursuance of the “men are pigs” meme, which is designed to destroy the normal heterosexual relationship for the simple reason that it is a natural healthy process that does not require government control and substantial spending on psychoanalysts, prescription drugs, and other products of the mega-corporations.

    1. Sharon Beth Long says:

      Unequal heterosexual power relationships, where the woman is financially or professionally dependent on the male, may be culturally normal but they are not healthy.

    2. Been Here Before says:

      I think you forgot to include chemtrails!

    3. Millie says:

      This woman is different and is a known liar and horrible person. Because of her past actions, you can see she has a long history of lying and using men and being a vicious aggressor to past friends and former relationships. It’s people like her that eventually detract from the validity of other REAL victims and their valid claims of assault. My money says this woman is lying, yet again, and wants more attention, no matter the cost. It’s been her past behavior for years, it;s what she does, and has worked for her in the past. Hopefully it will not work this time and people will finally see the truth… that she is a liar, as usual.

      1. Andy says:

        Let’s see.

        Everything you’ve written indicates that you know who the accuser is.

        Everything you’ve expressed that you’re sure, and not guessing.

        Something about your words makes me believe you.

        And not only that you know who the accuser is, but that there are precedents to her accusatory proclivities.

        . . .

        Don’t you think she should step up to the plate and reveal her identity?

        Absent such an initiative, her accusation may be weakened.

        Her reticence to do so is understandable.

        Let’s hope she changes her mind.

        1. Sue Brette says:

          I’ll do it. It’s Leesa Dahl. Google the name. Really.

          1. Millie says:

            I already named her but it was redacted. And you’re exactly right.That is who I and many believe the article is about, and she is a well known for being a predator, a liar, and a bully. Hopefully this is karma catching up to a real sociopath. She made her bed (of lies and deceit) years ago and now she has to lie in it…

          2. AMetFan says:

            Maybe, just maybe all these zealots should take notice and think twice before condeming people without evidence? The US has a 14th amendment for reason. Did “The Children’s Hour” not resonate at all?

            This is not to pass judgement on one side or the other, but sit down, take a breath, and let our legal system take official action. Public opinion is not the judge and jury.

          3. Andy says:

            What a coincidence. The first letter of each sentence I wrote must mean I’m clairvoyant.

  8. Sue Brette says:

    The pianist in question is well-known to be mentally unbalanced. She has stalked numerous singers and conductors, including friends/colleagues. She also went on a homophobic rampage against a cafe in Harlem, trying to ruin the business because on its chalkboard outside, it displayed an equality sign around the Supreme Court vote. That mess went viral. She was promptly ditched by most of the (unwise) singers who used her for auditions; she isn’t a good player anyway.

  9. Robert Williams says:

    The accuser is well-known by many in the New York vocal and opera community and is to be avoided at all costs. Most people know that she has been barred from The Metropolitan Opera and is a vicious person. And, by the way, who the hell places any credence on The NY Post? We have an anonymous complaint, from someone many in the opera community knows by name and face, no comment from the Met, no comment from The New School, no verification, a complaint made by email to the Met’s press office, and we should all assume that someone who has worked in this community for years, going back to when he was an assistant conductor to Christopher Keene at The City Opera, is guilty? If folks think he’s guilty, than anyone can be railroaded.

    1. HT says:

      It seems rather odd that it went to press on Saturday evening. Of course no one was available to comment. What shoddy “journalism”.

  10. Gill says:

    Hello everyone. I just read the report here and it is clear the incident took place in SFO and not at the Met. It’s all a bit confused in the way it reports the Met isn’t it?

  11. Another Hasbeen says:

    THIS ALLEGED INCIDENT WAS IN SAN FRANCISCO IN 2001. IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE MET OR PETER GELB.

    Apologies for shouting but CAN NOBODY READ HERE? If it happened it was IN SAN FRANCISCO!!!!!

    1. norman lebrecht says:

      Hush, dear. He was a Met staff conductor at the time.

      1. Eaglearts says:

        Ok, so your point is? The Met is somehow complicit/culpable?
        Really man, you are just posting trash and clickbait. Sad!

      2. Another Hasbeen says:

        Now then young’un… I’ll calm down when you promise to read articles properly before you post links to them! You and I both know the Met connection in this case is extremely tangential but any mention of the name is enough to cause certain denizens of SD to foam at the mouth…

        1. norman lebrecht says:

          I promise, I promise….

          1. Samuel Ramey says:

            Maybe some investigating should have been done before publishing!

          2. HT says:

            It’s libel. I’d advise you to take it down. Or at least ask a few questions.

  12. YoungNYCSinger says:

    “There is no corroboration available for the Post report here.”

    Yeah, no kidding. I am a singer who worked with her for a while until she threatened me. You should all take a look at her Facebook page to see the sorts of threats and bad behavior she exhibits. How The Met, The New School, or any place on the planet ever hired her in the first place I will never understand. I have never worked with Colaneri, but I am sorry that somehow this person has made him the subject of her wrath. She will never make a formal complaint and is only working social media to hurt people.

  13. harold braun says:

    Reminds me of the famous scene in Barry Levinson`s”Diner”,where Mickey Rourke´s movie date reaches into the popcorn box on his lap and is horrified to discover his penis poking through the bottom of the box into the popcorn…

      1. harold braun says:

        Yes,indeed!

  14. Glenn Matthews says:

    Keep in mind her lawyer is advising the strategy on this. Of course she will be anonymous. Evidently you people don’t understand how the legal system works.

    1. Millie says:

      Glenn, or Will, or Leesa, or whoever you are, Colaneri may be an a-hole but that is not against the law. Falsely accusing someone of sexual assault is. Anyone can be a jerk. But her(your?) history is full of lies and deception and full of fake stories, just like this, yet again, about how Leesa is a victim, Leesa was taken advantage of, men just use and use and abuse Leesa…. and it’s all LIES! Plus the false accusations can add to discrediting other REAL claims by victims of REAL sexual assault. Leesa (you?) is a predator, a liar, a firestarter and a troll. She even faked a pregnancy with a baritone. She told her best friend. And then also tried to sleep with HER husband at the time… no, Colaneri may be an asshole, but HE is the REAL victim here.

      1. Samuel Ramey says:

        Joe Coloneri is one of the few really nice people in our business.

        1. Alison Bolshoi says:

          I second that.

  15. Merola Baritone says:

    Colaneri is [redacted: defamation]

  16. Old Man in the Midwest says:

    Oh My. Seems like we have script material here for Mozart in the Jungle Season III.

    Nicely done.

    Lights, Camera, Action!

  17. Mannes Voice Student says:

    I am writing anonymously because I am a Mannes student, know everyone involved here, and am very much afraid of the person who made this alleged accusation against Joe Colaneri. A number of students were bullied by her in a threatening way and she also attacked Mannes students on her Facebook account, mentioning names of particular students. Mannes students did complain to the administration and there was some sort of investigation. Everyone except her boyfriend mentioned in the article is relieved that she no longer works at Mannes. And, for the record, Colaneri is very well liked by the students, not only in the opera but in the orchestra. I came to this school partially because of the reputation of Colaneri and of course my private teacher. Its a shame that this mean and nasty person can go around hurting people, including students and Joseph Colaneri. I think the Mannes administration should have gotten rid of her sooner.

  18. Mannesmusician says:

    I, too, know both people involved. As soon as I heard of this allegation I thought it must be this woman. She is a sick person. I hope and pray Maestro Colaneri can come out of this relatively unscathed. He is a brilliant musician and a fine human being, as many have already said.

    It might be advisable to retract this article or at the very least update to include that this vengeful person made this allegation AFTER losing her job at Mannes as a result of her own behavior.

  19. HT says:

    This is libel. He didn’t do it. And the “victim” has a LONG history of stalking, hacking and personally attacking people. If they’d even googled her name before going to print they’d know that. Oh, and claiming now one responded…on a Saturday? There’s no journalism here. Just libel. I hope he sues the crap out of everyone who ran with this lie.


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