Opera critic is fired after sex-pest claims

Opera critic is fired after sex-pest claims


norman lebrecht

February 10, 2021

A little-known German opera critic is the subject of an extensive investigation by the American tenor Zach Finkelstein, who styles himself Middleclass Artist.

His headline says it all: ‘Critic Andreas Laska “Relentlessly” Harasses Dozens of Young Women Singers for Unpublished “Article”‘.

Finkelstein continues: ‘Out of the 73 women who stated Laska approached them, Middleclass Artist interviewed nineteen of them. In the following eight case studies, we will share testimonials from the harassed women, and the responses from ResMusica, Das Opernglas, and Mr. Laska himself.’

You may read the full investigation, co-authored by publiist Mary Claire (MC) Curran, here.

Slippedisc has received the following statement from Resmusica.com, a reputable French news site:

ResMusica has been contacted by 2 victims and a parent of a third victim shortly before being interviewed by The Middle Class Artist. Based on the initial information provided at that time, ResMusica immediately suspended its collaboration with Mr Laska until further notice. Based on the specific and substantial information published by The Middle Class Artist on Feb. 9, 2021, we confirm that we have ceased all collaboration with him.

‘It appears that our former contributor took advantage of his collaboration with our magazine to get in touch with young female singers for personal benefits. These acts are unacceptable.’

What do we know about Laska? Very little, apart from a few bylines. His Facebook page, unusued for the past two years, notes that he is from Munich and has been married since 1 October 2011.

The picture below is from a French schoolfriends’ link-up site.


  • Alviano says:

    I think people like Laska are best investigated by the police and judged by the courts.

    • Joe Exotic says:

      When someone’s conduct doesn’t break the law but is extremely unethical, involving the police and the courts is futile. This is why victims are reluctant to speak up, because it is unlikely that there is any way to stop this behavior, much less hold the aggressor accountable in any way. And employers have the right to terminate someone for unethical behavior.

    • La belle plus voix says:

      Quite. Which is what these institutions are there for. Regardless of whether the current “investigation” is accurate or not, it is frankly none of Mr Finkelstein’s business. If the women feel harassed and that they are being stalked, the proper legal mechanisms exist, ones to which they have redress. Anyway, a legitimate and professional investigative journalist would examine both sides of the story, and give the critic, in this case, a chance to recount his version. Let it be said I have every sympathy with those subject to apparently unwanted attention. Such behaviour is patently unacceptable. I had a bad experience with a stalker, too, and no, it is not easy dealing with the authorities, but it has to be the correct course.

      • La plus belle voix says:

        Wow. That did not take long. Eight thumbs down. Now, it is pretty clear that the guy would seem to be a real hardcore creep, but if the way ahead is a kind of ersatz-trial by social media and the internet, the result of which being that he loses his job, then welcome to the brave new world, one in which everyone is a juror.

      • Thedepaeted says:

        Mr Finkelstein is a journalist. That’s what journalists do. So, it is his business

        • Bob says:

          He’s NOT a journalist. no journalism training, no credentials. just an unemployed singer with nothing to do.

          • Thedepaeted says:

            Wasn’t aware you had to have credentials to unearth truths and expose sexual predators like Laska. We should applaud him for doing so, unless you’re ok with cyber stalking unprofessionalism, and just down right creepiness.

          • La plus belle voix says:

            Journalists train to be journalists. Singers to be singers.

          • Bob says:

            Yes, the sexual predators deserve to go to jail. This bad journalism might make it harder for this person to actually go to jail now. Someone who is actually qualified to be a real journalist could make a cleaner better case.

        • Knowing Clam says:

          “journalist.” For what reputable paid publications does he frequently report, either freelance or on staff? Wait. There are none. It’s a blog where he makes problems bigger.

          N.B. I 100% support these women and it’s gross. Tales of this Andreas Laska person were shared ALL OVER facebook. And people had already written these publications to report his behavior.

          • La plus belle voix says:

            Exactly. And the women could have gone direct to the publications for which he claimed to be writing.

    • Karl says:

      But the legal process gives people the presumption of innocence. That’s not acceptable anymore in wokeworld.

    • How will they know to investigate if no one says anything until the police investigate?

  • John Borstlap says:

    ‘Middleclass Artist’?

    As we know, the term signifies the worst possible flaw of any artist: mediocrity. To be a bad artist is still better than to be mediocre: ‘bad’ suggests lack of talent; ‘mediocre’ personality flaws – with hard work and better teachers one could still improve.

    Who would believe a middleclass artist? Who would want to hire a middleclass tenor? or buy tickets for a middleclass recital?

    • The departed says:

      Middle class is not mediocre. Quite an insulting comparison. The middle class built this country and holds it up on their back to this day. Middle class is not an insult. It’s a badge of honor.

    • Zach says:

      I think you are thinking of ‘middlebrow’? Middleclass is a socioeconomic status. It has nothing to do with what you’re saying.

    • BruceB says:

      “Middle-class” is an economic category, not an artistic one.

    • Dave T says:

      One can never be sure when John Borstlap is being sarcastic. Has he never learned the lesson that the internet/social-media/SD have no room for subtlety?

  • wendy says:

    In the U.S., there is a huge liability for an employer if they do nothing, when there is evidence. Common for employees to be put on leave, then fired if/when an internal investigation shows their behavior warrants it. Victims are free to bring additional actions of a criminal nature to the police or civil directly to the courts.

  • Byrwec Ellison says:

    It sounds like a bad pen name, but if the offending critic were Czech, his name would translate to “André Love.”

  • Zach says:

    To be clear for commenters, he admitted to it and posted two apologies to the victims, one coming from Das Opernglas and one from ResMusica.

    • Zach says:

      “Over the past months, I have contacted a large number of young female singers on social media to get them involved in two different article projects. In many cases, I asked for video interviews. However, in the end, I didn’t complete these projects for various reasons. As some of these professional contacts seemed very pleasant to me, I continued them privately chatting and talking regularly with these women over quite a long time. With that, I crossed a line. Unfortunately, I only really realized this much too late. However, I would like to emphasize that I did not want to harass any of these women. I only appreciated the supposedly friendly contacts – especially now in the low-contact Corona time. At some point, the requests were like joining a Facebook group, which immediately brought me many new connections. And I liked that.

      I want to apologize very much for crossing the border. I feel deeply sorry for the fact that women felt harassed by me. As I said – that was never my intention.”

      • BruceB says:

        Won’t make any difference to the people wanting to dismiss this as a hack job without reading the article. The article is pretty damning though; even if you take out the singers’ emotional reactions to the behavior, the behavior itself is incredibly unprofessional.

        • La plus belle voix says:

          Agreed. The screen shots make pretty harrowing reading. But I still feel uncomfortable with a report that is like a prosecution attorney’s, as if nobody bothered to hire a defense attorney.

      • Karl says:

        Hitler didn’t intend to destroy Germany either. Any man who gives unwanted attention to any woman is Hitler now. Get woke or die tryin’!

  • christopher storey says:

    NL : can I give you a bit of free legal advice ? Your re-publication of this defamatory article carries with it the utmost risk . If I were Laska I would have not hesitation in issuing a writ against you for libel, and there would be virtually nothing that you could do other than grovel, issue an apology , and no doubt pay a significant amount of costs. You would do well to delete this item in its entirety a.s.a.p

    • La plus belle voix says:

      Let us take you at your word, and assume you are an attorney. Would the writ be issued under US, UK, German or another state’s law?

      • christopher storey says:

        Since the libel was published on this blog in the UK, it would be under English Law. And yes, I am Queen’s Counsel

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    This excellent article covers most of the issues with ‘sexual assault’/sex ‘pest’ claims: for fully grown adults, that is.


    And this says it all really:

    “The picture below is from a French schoolfriends’ link-up site.”

  • JussiB says:

    I guess the ‘enlightened’ Europeans also don’t believe in presumption of innocence until proven guilty in the court of law.