Swiss TV: Sexual overtures alleged at Zurich Opera House

Swiss TV: Sexual overtures alleged at Zurich Opera House


norman lebrecht

April 08, 2021

The Swiss national broadcaster has aired a report claiming that sexual harrassment of young males lay behind the departure of Zurich Opera’s Russian artistic director Michael Fichtenholz.

The company says that there was no cause for his dismissal and all procedures were correctly followed.

Fichtenholz has made no comment.

Watch the report here.



  • Chicagorat says:

    Sexual harassment/abuse and power are often intertwined.

    An interesting excerpt of Monica L. thoughts on the matter:

    “I now see how problematic it was that the two of us even got to a place where there was a question of consent. Instead, the road that led there was littered with inappropriate abuse of authority, station, and privilege. (Full stop.)

    Now, at 44, I’m beginning (just beginning) to consider the implications of the power differentials that were so vast between a president and a White House intern. I’m beginning to entertain the notion that in such a circumstance the idea of consent might well be rendered moot. (Although power imbalances—and the ability to abuse them—do exist even when the sex has been consensual.)

    But it’s also complicated. Very, very complicated. The dictionary definition of “consent”? “To give permission for something to happen.” And yet what did the “something” mean in this instance, given the power dynamics, his position, and my age? Was the “something” just about crossing a line of sexual (and later emotional) intimacy? He was my boss. He was the most powerful man on the planet. He was 27 years my senior, with enough life experience to know better. He was, at the time, at the pinnacle of his career (…). (Note to the trolls, both Democratic and Republican: none of the above excuses me for my responsibility for what happened. I meet Regret every day.)”

    • MWnyc says:

      Jeez, she still can’t admit that she pursued him.

      Yes, he absolutely should have had the self-restraint to stay away from her, but (as she did acknowledge at the time) the affair was her idea.

      • Reality-based says:

        And as far as power goes, he fell a lot further as a result of what transpired than she did. Still doesn’t excuse either one, but I’m not sure that history’s most famous White House intern is a great messenger for victimhood.

    • BigSir says:

      I have no doubt that Monica L. brought a good man down, figuratively and literally, on to her little blue dress.

  • “no cause” for his dismissal?

    That has to be encouraging for whoever takes the post next.

  • Off topic, but I’m fascinated by the appearance of English terms in the conversation of the German speakers in the report.

    “Soft Skills”
    “People Skills”

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    When it’s all working fine it’s ‘a relationship’; when the man refuses to leave his wife it’s ‘a power imbalance/abuse’.

    Really, women just seem to grow sillier.

  • christopher storey says:

    I’ve been trying to work out which Overtures have sexual content

    Marriage of Figaro ?

    Don Juan ?

    Il Signor Bruschino ?

    La Traviata ( well, alright, they are Preludes ) ?

    Carmen ?

    Tosca ? et al, et all……

  • henry williams says:

    you are right. if i behaved like that with
    somebody at work. my good wife would
    ask me to leave. she would be right.