Two more women speak out against Charles Dutoit

Two more women speak out against Charles Dutoit


norman lebrecht

January 04, 2018

The French soprano Anne-Sophie Schmidt and the British theatre administrator Fiona Allan have spoken out, alleging that they were sexually molested by the conductor Charles Dutoit.

Schmidt, who published an account on her Facebook page just before Christmas, has given an extended interview to a newspaper in her native Alsace.

She relates that Dutoit pestered her for sex after casting her as Mélisande in Paris in March 1995. He pushed her up against a wall, forcibly kissed her and groped her breasts. After she summoned her husband to be constantly on the scene, Dutoit cancelled all further engagements with her. She did not go to the police at the time, fearing a negative impact on her career.

Fiona Allan, who previously wrote to Slipped Disc about an experience at Tanglewood, has now given an interview to the Boston Globe. She said: ‘I’m 6 foot tall, I’m not small, I’m not easily maneuverable. But he had somehow maneuvered me up against a wall and had put his hand on my breast. That in itself was shocking and surprising. But I think what shocked and surprised me equally to this was the sense of . . . entitlement. It was like I was this decorative thing that had come to his dressing room that he somehow felt entitled to touch.’

Dutoit has denied accusations of forced physical contact and is consulting his lawyers.



  • Wai kit leung says:

    How tall is Charles Dutoit?

    • ben LEGEBEKE says:

      Hilarious , all this people come years after something happened with statements. Ridiculous…!

      • Antonio says:

        There is nothing hilarious or ridiculous about sexual assault. Victims take years and even decades to build up the courage to speak out. Many never say anything, because they can’t overcome they shame of feeling that they were somehow complicit in the assault, because predators make the victims feel that they provoked the attack. Fortunately, the #MeToo movement is empowering lots of victims. Good for them. And you, Ben Legebeke, are a very sad human, with your lack of compassion, your cynicism and your willingness to laugh away other people’s tragedies.

      • Edgar says:

        From your statement I take it you have never been sexually abused. It reveals a staggering lack of empathy, and worse. You think these victims decide on a whim tonow reveal their experiences? You are a very, very lamentable human being.

    • M2N2K says:

      Haven’t measured him but stood next to him a few times, so I would say about 181-182 cm (almost 6′).

    • Mr. Schwa says:

      Dutoit is five feet four inches

      • M2N2K says:

        Not sure how important this is, but he is definitely much taller than that.

        • Mr. Schwa says:

          I have a friend who grew up with Dutoit, and who recalls Dutoit being measured in their school when they were both 12 years old. He says both he and Dutoit were 5’4”.

  • Sue says:

    This seedy character was once the partner of Martha Argerich. Makes you wonder about her judgement.

    • Anonymous says:

      What exactly are you implying here? Is she “seedy” because she’s gay or is she’s “seedy” because her partner was Argerich? And what does either of those two things have to do with this story? Because it seems from your comment that one or both of those things automatically makes her a liar.

      • JBB says:

        What exactly are you implying here? Is she “seedy” because she’s gay or is she’s “seedy” because her partner was Argerich?

        I believe the seedy person in question is Dutoit, who was married to Argerich.

        The comment, as I read it, is musing about Argerich’s judgment.

        • Anonymous says:

          Ah! Okay. My mistake.
          What’s the point of even bringing Argerich into this and then criticizing her?
          It’s still an unnecessarily cruel comment.

      • Alex Davies says:

        What on earth are you talking about? Martha Argerich has been married to three different men by whom she has had three children. If she’s a lesbian it’s news to me.

        • Anonymous says:

          I made a mistake. My previous comment admitting my mistake earlier today seems to have disappeared. Strange. Anyway, yes, I made a mistake. However, I still have to ask – why even bring up Argerich in the first place? And not only that, but then criticize her? Until she makes a statement either in support of the accusers or in support of Dutoit, she’s not a part of this story. Though I initially misinterpreted the comment, I still think it is needlessly petty.

        • Sue says:

          Who said anything about Argerich being a lesbian!?? I ask what sort of judgment Argerich had in choosing Dutoit as a partner. Surely he was seedy even then? She was with Stephen Kovacevich and that must have been an industrial-strength improvement!!!

          • Anonymous says:

            So again, as I have now stated twice, I misinterpreted the original comment. But why are you dragging Argerich into this with your comment and harshly criticizing her? Your statement about her is just as bad as the cruel comments being hurled at the accusers, even more so because she is currently not even a part of this story. Unless she has made statement about Dutoit and/or the accusers that I’m not aware of, she should be left out of this.

    • La Verita says:

      Well Sue, Fox News Kool-Aid drinkers have no business questioning anyone else’s judgment.

      • Mark says:

        As opposed to the CNN & MSNBC lemmings ? Get lost, kid …

      • Sue says:

        Okey dokey. I don’t drink Cool Aid but I appreciate your narrowing people into a box of your own making. Not. Surely this is a projection from somebody who does exactly the same thing him/herself.

    • Alex Davies says:

      Martha Argerich was only married to Dutoit for approximately four years. You could say that her decision to leave him after a brief marriage was evidence of her good judgement. As for the decision to marry him, it’s not always easy to know what sort of a person one is getting involved with at that stage. And Dutoit himself was only about 32 or 33 when they got married and was conducting the Bern Symphony Orchestra. It seems that his alleged assaults are said to have begun later in his career when he was really established as a superstar on the global conducting circuit. Indeed, one must suspect that had he been abusing women in the early stages of his career he probably would not have got away with it and would not have advanced far. It’s far more likely that the opportunity and the belief that he could get away with it came with his later success.

  • Beaumont says:

    What I find interesting in all this (including #MeToo et al) is the statement that many people make that they were afraid of speaking up or going to the authorities because it would have harmed their careers.
    For the past decades I have been hearing that all German artists, soldiers, civil servants, etc would have had to do during the Nazi era was to stand up and say NO.
    This must mean that the Met, Weinstein and Dutoit (to name just a few) are even worse than the system in control in the thirties and forties in Germany. Makes you think.

    • Peter says:

      He is at the upper end of the food chain, simple as that. You call out on his behavior: you loose

    • Robert Holmén says:

      “For the past decades I have been hearing that all German artists, soldiers, civil servants, etc would have had to do during the Nazi era was to stand up and say NO.”

      Saying “no” was not enough. The regime was more than able to deal with “no”.

      Someone saying “no” was harshly dealt with. Loss of job, loss of freedom, even loss of life.

      That’s why they established huge “concentration camps”, to hold all the people they caught saying “no”. It didn’t take long for everyone else to stop saying “no.”

      • Mr. Schwa says:

        Let’s pause to ‘pay hommage’ to the many Nazis who helped the Reich [don’t worry, Mr. Lebrecht, this is a sarcastic statement, NOT a defamatory one!!] The great Schwarzkopf, who had the courage to turn in/rat on Jewish music students in the conservatory; the unrepentant Lemnitz, who cursed the Allies on her deathbed. Böhm, who would only reside in an ‘Aryanized’ apartment in Vienna………etc………………………………………………
        The majority of their German and Austrian colleagues stood for what was right, or at least shut up and remained on the sidelines until the war ended.Years later, at La Scala, Karajan joked that he had so fine a sense of smell that he could smell a Jew approaching.And a helpful hint: If you are not in the music profession, and are threatened by/upset by such facts, please do not write in rep[ly asking for the evidence. There are certain concrete things that most of us who have made our lives in this business know, and this cannot be contested. Your anger should be directed toward those individuals cited (even though most of them are dead.)

    • M2N2K says:

      If that is what you “have been hearing”, you should be more choosy to whom you are listening.

    • Sue says:

      Then we must all doubly admire the integrity of Erich Kleiber who took his wife and family to the cultural wilderness (comparatively speaking) of Argentina because he detested Hitler. His career very certainly did suffer and when he returned after the war he couldn’t get work in Austria!! So, don’t label everybody as having legitimate career concerns; there are plenty of people who nominate integrity first!! Erich Kleiber was one of them. And, to the best of my knowledge, Ruth Goodrich Kleiber was also Jewish.

      • Paul says:

        Cultural wilderness, that is the comment of an ignorant. Feel free to investigate about cultural life in mid XX century Buenos Aires. To name a few people, Argerich, Barenboim, Ginastera, Piazzolla, Lalo Schifrin, not to mention the superb Teatro Colon all born in Argentina.

  • Mara says:

    Poor women indeed… But now they have the chance of a lifetime – great chance to become really popular!!! Go on.

    • MacroV says:

      Really? There is nothing for them to gain personally by coming forward. Who wants to be known primarily as the person who exposed a sexual predator?

    • Bruce says:

      How popular have they become? Without looking them up, can you name a single one of the women who has accused Dutoit?

      • Vaquero357 says:

        Sylvia McNair.

        • Bruce says:

          Good job, even if you’re not Mara. I’ll address my reply to Mara.

          Mara: What does Sylvia McNair have to gain by coming forward now? Has she gained anything, or does it look likely that she will? Why do you think that “becoming really popular” was her goal? You can frame your answers to refer to one of the other women if you prefer, since McNair actually did go on to a big career and become quite famous.

          I hope you won’t mind explaining to someone who doesn’t see things as clearly as you do. Thanks.

    • harold braun says:


    • Anonymous says:

      It breaks my heart to read many comments showing very little regards to the victims. Your attitude and judgment view is part of the reason why victims do not stand up. It has little to do with the height of the aggressor (5’8-5’9) but rather with the fear of repercussions towards the establishment or the individuals in it. People feared there for themselves and looked the other way. I know, I lived it! Part of the frustration for the men was to not have been able to support colleagues better. The administration had no regards for victims and feared for the institutions reputation. We were all responsible! Imagine the victim in a position where there is no support. That’s what we need to change.

  • Ben says:

    My female Rottweiler is now barking relentless whenever an Dutoit DVD is played in my home. I suspect she is trying to say something.

    • Sue says:

      What are you doing having a Rotweiller sharing your intimate space in the house? OMG. Perhaps your CD playing is in the dog house.

  • erich says:

    It never ceases to amaze me that that raddled old cyclops could possible imagine that his alleged groping activities could find favour with any of his apparent victims. Has he looked in the mirror recently?

  • ben LEGEBEKE says:

    Ridiculous! People come after years ,something happened with accusations. Hilarious!

    • MacroV says:

      What’s ridiculous? It has been discussed repeatedly that people (men or women) who are mistreated/abused by a powerful figure fear 1) people won’t believe them, 2) they were young/naive, and maybe think they did something wrong, 3) their reputations will be damaged, known as the victim rather than in their own right, and/or 4) they will suffer retaliation. So they keep quiet until years later, when it comes out, at which point they feel safe doing so and also enhance the credibility of the person who made the charge.

  • Ueli Wiget says:

    My oboe teacher at high school once inapproprately stroked my third octave key. After reading all these recent accounts, I’m thinking of coming out.

    • Herr Doktor says:

      You already have come out…as a buffoon. And if you had the courage of your buffoonery, you’d post under your real name so you can strut your proud buffoon feathers.

      • harold braun says:

        Herr Doktor( i am inclined to believe that´s not your real name,since Paul Doktor died many years ago)…..Ueli Wiget is a well known swiss pianist specializing in contemporary music,playing often with Ensemble Modern.In contrary to you,he not only uses his real name,but also has some sense of humor,Herr Sanitätsrat!

      • Been Here Before says:

        Herr Doktor – Although on most issues I stand with you, I believe that overzealous activists such as yourself hurt the victims’ cause the most.

        Your post is the case in point. If you just googled Mr. Wiget’s name, you would have seen that this was the real person (and a rather accomplished one). So you not only lost your credibility, but have also shown us the utter lack of the ability for critical reasoning.

        Please go away and stop hurting the cause. As I said, I believe the accusers – but let us please allow the due process to run its course. Otherwise, these tragic events will be turned into a farce. Sadly, your comment only played into Mr. Wiget’s hand (with whom, by the way, I do not agree on the issue at all).

    • harold braun says:


  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    The full article by Anne-Sophie Schmidt deserves reading :

    “Strong allusions, proposals to go to see his Japanese prints, insistent messages on my answering machine…After a while, he was exasperated to see that I pretended not to understand…Dutoit cancelled all future concerts …. It was a lot of dates, it was a huge hole in my calendar for a year. The slope was quite difficult to climb”

  • Jan Kaznowski says:

    And she calls him a crazy madman “ce fou furieux”
    and this dirty guy “ce sale type”

    Makes a good point “….institutions cancel their contracts with him without waiting for evidence, for trial; it was enough for four girls to denounce the facts in the United States. That means they knew, but they covered”

    Yep…they knew

  • Barry Griffiths says:

    Good for her being, as below, a pioneer in her country :

    “….because of this free speech movement after the Weinstein affair, things are moving. Except in France, where it is still the total Omerta! I am the first artist in France to open the ball”

  • A-UK-Cellist says:

    When European Youth Orch was touring Greece and other places with Barenboim in the early 80s, Dutoit was a hanger-on for several days in Barenboim’s coterie.

    No – I’m not saying we saw any bad behavior but what was striking was the SHAMELESS way Dutoit was trying to ingratiate himself with managers, sponsors and the players. Clearly he was wanting a gig and one never came. My point here is that – in turn – he should appreciate people trying to make it and improve themselves , like his girl getting her big break for Melisande.

    It’s a dreadful story and I’m grateful to SD for following it.

    Also, I bet Charlie is no longer in Barenboim’s circle !

    • harold braun says:

      Barenboim…..need i say more????????????My god,how naive are you?????Barenboim.of all people….

    • Been Here Before says:

      Again – unfortunately, comments such as this only help turn these tragic events into a farce. Innuendo, hearsay, and so on… And setting Barenboim as an example of personal morality is a sick joke. Let us please stop the hysteria and allow those qualified and competent to make the judgement (and by the way, I believe the accusers and stand with them).

      • Michael says:

        I heard many years ago a Barenboim’s friend making jokes about how “strong” he was, being able to have sexual relations before and after a concert with anyone who would cross his path backstage or at the elevator from and to his flat (he had a flat on the top floor at Salle Pleyel?). Nobody was complaining at that time. I understood he was just another sex addicted and the ladies were enjoying…
        I also read in a French newspaper that Johnny Halliday always needed at least 2 women to “slow down” after a concert. Nobody complaining again. All that was normal 30 years ago. Probably some musicians not so successful with ladies “needed” the same (too many immature people doing music) but did not understand that it should be consensual…

  • Luciano says:

    I really can’t understand the vitriol that is being aimed at these women, as if Dutoit is the real victim. He is not, he is the aggressor and everyone in the industry knows these 6 who have come forward are just the tip of the iceberg. To the people who say, ‘oh they say this after so many years’, or, ‘they are just looking for afternoon’s, stop and read the comments on this thread. Why on earth would someone come forward with accusations against a famous person? They are openly mocked by people who know nothing of the truth.

    • Bruce says:

      “They are openly mocked by people who know nothing of the truth.”

      But apparently these people do know the truth. They must, or they would not be so confident in their assertions.


    • Anonymous says:

      “I really can’t understand the vitriol that is being aimed at these women”

      Fans only know the persona the artist presents to the world. Not the real person. And no one wants to believe the artist they built up in their minds could ever do something terrible because what does it then say about themselves? So they say to themselves, how could someone so brilliant, so charming, and who creates such beautiful art ever do anything so bad? The only way to rationalize this is to blame the accusers – call them liars or say they misinterpreted the artist’s actions or even initiated the offense themselves. It’s much tidier this way. The illusion remains intact.

      • Bruce says:

        What’s strange to me is that people have trouble with the idea that their idol might be a flawed person — or that all their idols might be flawed people. Are we all 7 years old?

  • Rgiarola says:

    As people from slum “favelas” of Rio de Janeiro would say “A casa caiu pra vc mano Dutoit, fodeu! nem da mais pra defender! Corre nego!”

  • Donna Doyle says:

    The Nazis went home in the evening to play Beethoven string quartets. Isaac Stern said,”About what do I think while performing? The corned beef sandwich I’m going to eat afterwards.” James Joyce: “Why do you want to shake the hand that wrote ‘Ulysses’? It did alot of other things, too.” We all put our pants on one leg at a time. Best we don’t hold on a pedestal the personal character of artists. Glenn Gould said, “I make a point to never meet my heros.”

  • Sue says:

    Here’s an interesting take on the #Metoo movement, which goes well beyond the music profession:

  • A-UK-Cellist says:

    Time ( writes:

    ==Joe Kluger, former president of The Philadelphia Orchestra from 1989 to 2005, told The AP that Dutoit’s reputation as “extremely flirtatious” was one factor that caused the organization to pass him over twice for the job of music director during those years.

    He said rumors of Dutoit’s “inappropriate behavior with women were common knowledge in the classical music business.” He added: “I do recall telling our staff to be wary around him and encouraged them to report any inappropriate behavior immediately.” ===