Zurich Opera admits investigating its artistic director

Zurich Opera admits investigating its artistic director


norman lebrecht

January 27, 2021

The director of Zurich Opera, Andreas Homoki, has commented on the premature departure of artistic director Michael Fichtenholz, as reported yesterday in Slipped Disc.

He told Christian Berzins of CH Media: ‘The Zurich Opera House issued a directive in August 2018 on how to deal with allegations in relation to harassment and abuse of power.

‘In such cases, the clarifications are carried out by an external specialist department. All persons involved are assured of confidentiality in this process. Such a process was also pursued in relation to allegations against Mr Fichtenholz. The Zurich Opera House initiated investigations without delay after becoming aware of the allegations and called in the external specialist unit…. Those involved were informed about the content and results of these investigations in accordance with the guidelines. The process was ended amicably. No further steps, especially no legal ones, were requested from any side.’



  • Sanity says:

    I’m not at all shocked that he was investigated. Sadly, I’m also not shocked that no legal steps were taken.

  • Le Křenek du jour says:

    The process was ended a m i c a b l y ?

    “Amicably” suggests a far larger degree of concord than the German original, “einvernehmlich”.
    “Einvernehmlich” actually means “by mutual agreement”.
    It has chilly undertones: when someone is fired, the communiqué usually states that he is leaving “einvernehmlich”, by mutual agreement. Mutual, though usually somewhat one-sided.

    • Lausitzer says:

      It exactly goes “im gegenseitigen Einvernehmen”, and it simply translates into “we have fired him/her”. However, this applies to Germany – in Switzerland they perhaps use other euphemisms.

      Other classics:

      Wegen unterschiedlicher Auffassungen zur Weiterentwicklung des Hauses …

      … stellt sich neuen Herausforderungen …

  • IP says:

    I don’t understand. They butcher Opera and they get paid, nicely. Then they pester an occasional female (or male), and heaven comes tumbling down.

  • From the Aargauer Zeitung in Lucerne


    Zurich Opera House: Abrupt departure of the Zurich Opera Director – internal message puzzles Sudden departure of the Zurich opera director – internal communication puzzles First there was a case against the opera director for abuse of power, now he is leaving Zurich: The Zurich Opera House worries the opera scene.

  • Runner says:

    We endlessly read about the power, sexual abuse where the money involved. But how about getting to know what is going on actually in the theaters orchestras. How people get mentally abused by their older colleagues! No one talks about it as younger people are afraid to talk openly about the psychological pressure. It might harm their future jobs as networking between the theaters can affect the reputation forever. When are we going to investigate psychological pressure and abuse existing for many years? Or are we only interested in money and sex, leaving many people silent?

  • Henri says:

    This all strikes me as a complete rumour house. If we actually knew the facts then perhaps we could have properly informed opinions. As it stands, nothing was published and as someone who has worked in Switzerland a lot, I know that a condition of most contracts is that if something illegal has occurred then you are dismissed immediately. Clearly that hasn’t happened here so we should be a it careful jumping to conclusions no?

    • Dan Oria says:

      Cher Henri, you seem to be a bit naïve…
      I worked at the Zurich Opera there for about 23 years and I suppose we even know eachother 🙂

  • Don Giovanni says:

    I find the whole procedure totally extreme. I may be old-school, but I believe negative people in positions of power are part of the game in any business. The challenge is through your own character, skills, talent and determination to overcome such barriers:
    Whinning to the blood thirsty media, expecting sanctions and exposure off the wrong doers while remaining anonymous does not show such qualities

  • Dan Oria says:

    From Zurich’s Opera previous directory (by Alexander Pereira) similar stories could also be told, especially as far as “power abuse” are concerned. I myself I was victim by a woman from the staff who was jealous of my skills, so she tried to mob me by telling lies. And her superiors, who knew the truth, did not support me.
    I did not insist longer with my defense beause I was scared to become a querulous person…
    These days I am hearing from former colleagues that similar, and even more dramatic stories could still be told from that the period between 1990 and 2012, including cases of opera singers who were not wanted anymore because they had started gaining weight…