An Italian maestro faces allegations in Ohio

An Italian maestro faces allegations in Ohio


norman lebrecht

September 27, 2019

The conductor Alessandro Siciliani is the subject of misconduct allegations at OperaProjects Columbus, where he is music director.

Siciliani, 67, is accused of two acts of harrassment against female singers and one angry outburst.

He was not available to respond.

Report here.


  • Alan says:

    One angry outburst?

    Surely immolation will follow.

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    Accused of one angry outburst. The world is getting totally crazy in parts of the Western world. In relation to non Western world, the things may be just as they always were, but (due to same irrational political correctness) we are not allowed to criticise other cultures.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Yes, every day it increasingly resembles the old USSR and its command-and-control diktat. Then there were the salt mines of Siberia where well known people were sent for challenging the politburo’s approved subjects and speech or behaving outside the bounds of their approval.

      Ergo, the western world hasn’t gone ‘crazy’ per se – just the Left reverting to their historic roles as authoritarians and thought police. And they choose not to see that because they’re not very bright.

  • phf655 says:

    It is Opera Projects COLUMBUS. The latter is the capital and largest city in the State of Ohio. Columbia is the capital of South Carolina. Just a point of clarification.

  • Karl says:

    I was accused of threatening a women with a bowl of pasta once. He’s Italian so I suspect he did the same.

    • john Borstlap says:

      I know of an Italian opera conductor in Bari who always took three pizzas with him at the dress rehearsel to splash on the heads of his singers. On one occasion, after Simon Boccanegra, there was a dessert fight over postperformance supper between singers and conductor at the nearby restaurant.

  • Olga says:

    I’m from Columbus of Ohio. Maestro Siciliani was the principal conductor of Columbus Symphony for a long period, during that time many prominent musicians performed with the orchestra. Siciliani resigned some years ago and afterwards he has been involved in other projects. These allegations sound somewhat ridiculous. It seems that chain reaction is going on among certain group.

  • minacciosa says:

    One angry outburst? What opera conductor has never, ever had at least one angry outburst? It’s opera; angry outbursts are its stock in trade both in the operas performed themselves and offstage in all parts of production. If a musician or singer cannot withstand one angry outburst (whether deserved or not), they are not strong enough to be in the music business.

    As a student, I was told that Piatagorsky apocryphally said “when someone spits in your face, you must look up and ask “is it raining?”” Words to live by if you choose music as a career.

    • Olga says:

      At the time you were a student of professor Piatagorsky outbursts against musicians were related to their performance or other professional issues. Nowadays we get news about allegations against sexual harassment primarily to all the rest.

    • john Borstlap says:

      In April 2017, three players of the [redacted] orchestra filed a complaint at the board because the conductor had pointed-out a wrong note to them. Although they admitted they had indeed at one moment accidentally played a different note from the one prescribed in the part, the players felt the conductor should have respected their subjective interpretation of the music, ‘without which no musical work can come to life’. The score was duly changed and nobody complained. Since it was a modern work, the result did not suffer from the invervention.

      Similarly, at the [redacted] orchestra, famous conductor [redacted] got into trouble when the entire horn section went to the union to complain about the way they were, in an authoritarian way, instructed into playing their parts, which they considered harmful for their musical sensitivity. After some weard mutual consultation, overlooked by representatives from the union and two journalists from the local morning post, the conductor promised to never pressure them again.

      These incidents open-up the happy perspective for atonal music, although it may be doubted whether audiences would enjoy it as much as the players.

    • H says:

      It’s not about “one angry outburst,” unfortunately – this is evidently a behavioral pattern of sexual and verbal harassment stemming from alcohol abuse. His temperment and offensive actions were well known among local singers. I was told about incidents like these years before these particular accusations came out, so I am not surprised.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        It is usually the formal complaint involves “one angry outburst” but the underlying behaviour is long-standing and problematic.

  • mama1 says:

    the purge has begun.

  • Scott Giles says:

    A conductor had an angry outburst? I’m amazed…that an opera conductor only had ONE!

  • M McAlpine says:

    One angry outburst? What would they have done to Toscanini?

  • william osborne says:

    The story might be a bit more complicated. “Alive” reports that, “In a resignation letter Rettman submitted to OPC on June 20, a copy of which was obtained by Alive, the former executive director cited incidents of Siciliani’s alleged misconduct as the primary cause for his departure, writing, ‘the treatment of and more specifically, the vulnerable feelings amongst the young women this company has worked with is truly it for me.’”

  • Marg says:

    “One angry outburst” Oh give me a break. Try working in the corporate sector for a week. Sexual harassment is one thing. An angry outburst????

  • Ms.Melody says:

    If he was suspended for one angry outburst plus a couple of wrong moves, then DB should have gotten a lifetime in solitary confinement.

  • david hilton says:

    It is well worth reading the single comment posted at the website of the local Ohio newspaper reporting this story, and linked above. It relates a credible story of a local baker and rejected opera baritone being behind a vendetta to bring down this conductor. And how better, how much more quickly, one can do that in this new environment than by means of anonymous claims of sexual harrassment, preferably from years ago.

    • Edgar says:

      I am reminded of Venice, where anyone could place a written anonymous accusation into the “bocca”, one of many open mouths of stone lion reliefs all over the city.

      Never go to the opera or concert without your attorney.

    • Herman Jablonski says:

      You are either misinformed or making assumptions. The local baker you mention was quoted in the article, yes, but this is no kind of “vendetta.” To my knowledge he has never worked with Maestro Siciliani. What he did was relate the completely unprofessional conduct that the Maestro displayed at the concert…….rambling to the audience between pieces, insulting the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, ridiculing one of the soloists, even stopping one musical selection and starting over, and generally behaving like a drunken idiot…….yes, the real story here really is Siciliani’s severe alcoholism, which has hindered and stifled this company every step of the way…….and is also the reason why no orchestra or opera company in their right minds would ever engage him in his current condition.

  • Edgar says:

    It becomes more and more perilous to perform in the DisUnited/Unhinged States of America.

  • H says:

    This article is definitely skewed. This is a much more complicated issue than “political correctness” or a social movement. His behavior has evidently been well known among local artists for some time. Apparently, it goes far beyond just “one angry outburst” and is largely alcohol driven. Many teachers won’t even send their students to perform with him anymore because of the environment he creates and the sexual harassment incidents.

    • Kay Langford says:

      Plus why would all these professional directors of the company also resign?
      It’s sad that an American city of that size cannot afford to maintain their own artistic organizations without foreign investment which gives this foreign director apparently the license to act any way he wants to.

    • Herman Jablonski says:

      This is accurate.