Breaking: Charles Dutoit is reinstated in France

Breaking: Charles Dutoit is reinstated in France


norman lebrecht

January 28, 2019

The Swiss conductor, accused of serious sexual offences and stripped of many honours, has been given a clean bill of health by the Orchestre National de France.

He will step in to conduct Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust in Paris next Tuesday in place of a sick Emmanuel Krivine.

#Metoo never really happened in the EU.

Dutoit was the ONF’s music director in the 1990s. Evidently, they have no bad memories.

HECTOR BERLIOZ La Damnation de Faust
John Osborn ténor (Faust)
Kate Lindsey mezzo-soprano (Marguerite)
Nahuel Di Pierro basse (Méphistophélès)
Edwin Crossley-Mercer baryton-basse (Brander)
Maîtrise de Radio France
Sofi Jeannin chef de chœur
Chœur de Radio France
Martina Batiˇc chef de chœur
Orchestre National de France
Charles Dutoit direction
Concert diffusé le 7 février sur France Musique.



  • Kenneth says:

    #Metoo should not be a death sentence upon accusation. If he was tried, convicted, and sentenced, all the better; but he wasn’t. Abhorrent things he did, but the law has spoken. He has his freedom to continue within his professional capacities, and frankly, the music will be all the better from his continued involvement.

    • Peter says:

      But you can’t deny that all the similar allegations and the way in which all the major symphony orchestras dumped him (like they knew that he was sexually assaulting people), and the open rumors in the music world, make it so that the likely hood of him being a sexual predator, one who has traumatized people including teenage girls, north of something like 99%.

    • Emil says:

      Dutoit still has a career and celebrated recordings that still play on the radio. Meanwhile, some of his victims had to undergo years of psychological therapy. Excuse me while I don’t have any sympathy for him.

    • Bruce says:

      To be fair, it hasn’t been a “death sentence” for most accused conductors (incl. Dutoit).

  • Caravaggio says:


  • Comfort Bourque says:

    All he needs to do now is remove the “o” from his last name.

  • boringfileclerk says:

    Told you so!

  • Karl says:

    I wonder if we will ever see him in the US again. It took almost a decade for some victims of McCarthyism like Dalton Trumbo to get work in the US again. Yes – I think #metoo is sexual McCarthyism.

    • Jack says:

      Without exception? None of these claims are true? And really . . . Trumbo, McCarthyism and the hollywood blacklist is a really poor analogy.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Only it has less credibility than McCarthyism because the objects of those ‘witch hunts’ were idiots who advocated communism when tens of thousands of their citizens had been slaughtered fighting for freedom. Idiots, gulls; the lot of them.

      • Cameron says:

        That is some of the most amazing rewriting of history and dismissal of other women I’ve ever read. I would suggest you should be ashamed, but I think it would be a stretch to imagine you capable of that.

  • BP says:

    Well, you try and get someone to conduct la Damnation de Faust in short notice…

    • Bruce says:

      One wonders if they have assistant conductors over there.

    • Ms.Melody says:

      Not only did they get” someone”, they got one of the best. Whatever his moral failings are, it is a good day for music.

      • Luigi Nonono says:

        The only sadness for me is, I never liked his conducting. He was somehow able to take every favorite piece of French literature, and make it dark and murky like a Rembrandt instead of sunny and dappled like a Van Gogh. He obtained a monopoly on French music in the US, but ruined it. Nevertheless, he deserves respect.

      • Brettermeier says:

        “Not only did they get” someone”, they got one of the best. Whatever his moral failings are, it is a good day for music.”

        Öhm. Let’s get this in perspective, shall we:

        He assaulted people (allegedly), but some people (like you) think he’s the best. Therefore it kind of outweighs his shortcomings.

        Now image me being abrasive towards you. But I’m actually quite good in what I do, some would say: The best.

        Of course you would be ok with me assaulting you or whatever, because I’m quite awesome in my line of work, right?

      • Emil says:

        Any statement that starts with “whatever his moral failings” is, in fact, not good for music. Not at all.

        Multiple musicians in Montreal had to go on sick leave or leave the Orchestra due to Dutoit’s bullying, not to mention the victims of his sexual harassment and assault. You may want to engage in quantification (one Dutoit is worth 5 orchestra violinists, or whatever the rate), but I don’t.

        • Harrumph says:

          Eventually, nobody will be left to pass your moral purity test.

          • Emil says:

            Is “not assaulting anyone and not causing anyone to develop psychological problems” too high a bar to clear?

          • Brettermeier says:

            “Is ‘not assaulting anyone and not causing anyone to develop psychological problems’ too high a bar to clear?
            Vote: 3/3”


          • Bruce says:

            ^ Apparently.

            The “slippery slope” folks are fond of their slippery slope.

            Well, to be fair, maybe they have reason to be. Remember when, having given the vote to women, we went on to give it to dogs & horses? Or, now that same-sex marriage has been made legal in most of the civilized world (and also the US 😉 ), people have started marrying animals and small children, and Christianity is illegal? I guess they do have a point after all.

  • Bruce says:

    Two things come to mind:

    (1) It seems like there must be some room between the extreme versions of “believe the accusers” and “innocent until proven guilty” — people seem to gravitate toward either “we must believe that all accusers are telling the truth and all defendants are lying” or “we must believe that all accusers are lying and all defendants are innocents.” Also (1.a) the automatic defenders seem to think that the only valid way to deal with such a claim is through a full police investigation and a courtroom trial. They don’t seem to acknowledge, or acknowledge the possible validity of, internal investigations done by lawyers prior to the public announcements.

    (2) As I’ve said before: if some organization still wants to hire him, well… let them. At this point, they and the public all know what they’re getting, both musically and extra-musically speaking. The organization doing the hiring makes it clear where their sympathies lie, and of course their main allegiance has to be to the bottom line (I guess it doesn’t HAVE to be, but it’s expected). If a member of the public decides not to buy a ticket (or a soloist wants to cancel) because of who the replacement conductor is, then fine. If there were enough cancellations to have an impact, then organizations might stop hiring him simply because he doesn’t sell.

    I would hope that if audience members want to return their tickets, the management would be accommodating.

    • H. Holmes says:

      In France it would be nearly impossible to imagine that the management of an orchestra would allow audience members to return their tickets due to the fact that Dutoit will be conducting instead of Krivine.
      France is not a country where you can easily return anything, even something that you just purchased and one hour later discovered it to be broken. That happened to me twice when I unfortunately lived in France. I purchased something for the kitchen and when returning home, less than one hour after I made the purchase, opening the box to discover that the appliance was cracked and broken, I immediately returned to the store, about one hour and 20 minutes after having made the purchase. I was met with scowls, rudeness, sneers and was told that I broke it! Only after threatening them to take legal action was it exchanged, but not without being told that I was never welcome back in the store! No apologies! In France, the system is so very Soviet-like when it comes to customer service and just basic business common sense, so don’t imagine that they would take back tickets, just because people would object to Mr. Dutoit replacing the indisposed Mr. Krivine. Things don’t work like that in France. Understanding the value of a customer doesn’t really occur to them. In France it’s better spending time demonstrating, burning and smashing up banks, stores and anything representing business or money, rather than realising that economies need customers and businesses to exist. It will take another generation to get France to adapt to a customer oriented society. Russia and the former communist block actually did it much quicker.

    • Brettermeier says:

      @Bruce: Exactly.

  • Mark says:

    So that #MeToo nonsense never took off in the EU ? Here is finally one thing to like about the EU …

  • Luigi Nonono says:

    Good thing, teu (too). Somehow, “progressive” Americans (feminists) reverted to being regressive Puritans, because, as you know, women must have total control over men and think they know better and can do everything better than men. And if not, at least they can destroy men.

  • Jamesay says:

    He’s been enabled by Orchestra managements for years!!! Tip to ANY female cast, crew, administrators, assistants and especially interns, just don’t EVER be in a room on your own with him. That’s his MO and how he got away with it for years. Even when reported some management said”oh we forgot to tell you, you should never be on your own with Dutoit”! Or “you should consider it a compliment my dear”! Those are two REAL quotes!

  • Stephen Diviani says:

    Excellent news.

  • Mark (London) says:

    This so called “ #metoo” has given opportunity for the “unbalanced, psychologically disturbed, attention seeking and more “ to come out . Maybe with the exposure of these attempts ensures “mud doesn’t always stick”