Austin Opera has issued a terse statement terminating the contract of its artistic director and chief conductor, Richard Buckley, with immediate effect.
The company said he had been investigated for ‘inappropriate behavior in violation of the company’s policy on harassment had occurred that was not consistent with the values and standards of Austin Opera.’ After consulting lawyers it fired him. Last night’s performance of Ariadne auf Naxos was conducted in his place by Robert Mollicone.
No further details have been officially released, but a former staffer, Ellen Mason, has told the Austin-American Statesman that Buckley molested her sexually, and another woman said she had seen sexual misconduct.
‘The allegations are baseless and without merit,’ said Buckley’s spokeswoman, Stefanie Scott. ‘Richard is deeply saddened by this turn of events. He has great difficulty understanding these accusations because he was not given any information related to what he allegedly did and who made the accusations. Richard intends to explore all his legal options.’