UK baritone is barred from contact with teens

UK baritone is barred from contact with teens


norman lebrecht

May 01, 2018

The baritone Michael de Costa has been placed under a sexual risk order for five years, banning him from being alone in his academy with a female pupil under the age of 18.

De Costa, 78, whose real name is Michael Patterson, was not charged with any offence.

Claims on his website that he sang leading roles at English National Opera are unfounded.

Court report here.


  • Sharon says:

    Wang is right (see previous article). It is largely those older figures past their prime who are frequently now in semi retirement who are being condemned for previous abuses. When they were more powerful and could actually hurt people’s careers those who were abused were afraid to speak out.

    I used to believe that it was good for the MeToo movement to make an example out of famous people in different professions but at the same time I do not like kicking people when they are in professional and/or physical decline.

    In this case, child welfare workers and the police have to cover themselves. There is probably not enough evidence to convict or a statute of limitations has passed but the authorities have to show that they are taking preventative measures.

    For the same reason people are suspended, such as in Levine’s case, while the investigation is going on. This happens also in teaching and nursing. I have seen nurses reinstate and charges dismissed after investigations that have lasted a year and turned up nothing.

    • Alex Davies says:

      Here in the UK we don’t have a statute of limitations for criminal matters, so that cannot be the explanation. You are probably closer to the mark suggesting that the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) felt that the police were unable to meet the evidential threshold for him to be charged (essentially, that it is more likely than not that he would be convicted). Given the remarks of the alleged victim, it seems unlikely that she was unwilling to give evidence. The article also doesn’t make clear what kind of behaviour is alleged. If it was before the Sexual Offences Act 2003 came into force it was often difficult under previous legislation to prosecute some behaviour that is now rightly criminalised. It sounds rather unsatisfactory, but I’d tend to trust that magistrates do not issues these kinds of orders without good reason.

  • Jimbo says:

    Quote >
    Michael Patterson, known to audiences as Michael De Costa, is one of England’s most sought after baritones.
    I'm not claiming to be an authority on "England's most sought after baritones", but I have never heard of this guy!? Ever! … and I have worked with British and International singers for over 30 years….
    Who briefed the rag ? The man himself ?
    Sounds like the order was made with good reason and as Alex Davies writes above, the CPF didn't have enough evidence to move to trial.

    • John Rawnsley says:

      Jumbo, I too have never heard of Mr De Costa – and I can also say that he did not sing the title role in Jonathan Miller’s famous production of Rigoletto at ENO!!