Daniele Gatti has been accused of sexual misconduct by two sopranos.
In an expose by the Washington Post, sopranos Alicia Berneche and Jeanne-Michèle Charbonnet accused the renowned conductor. In a statement, Berneche noted that when she was 24 on her first day at the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center in 1996, Gatti offered her a coaching session and as a result, she followed him to his dressing room to set up a time. She said that when she entered Gatti put “his hands on my rear end and his tongue down my throat.”
Charbonnet also noted in the Post that Gatti tried something similar when she was working with him on Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman” in Bologna. She stated, “I pushed him off and ran out of the room.”
In response of the accusations, Gatti delivered a statement that said, “All my life I have always been totally alien to any behavior that may be referred to [by] the term harassment, whether psychological or sexual,” he said. “Every time I have approached someone, I have always done it fully convinced that the interest was mutual. The facts referred to took place a long time ago, but if I have offended anyone, I sincerely apologize.”
He then released another statement on Friday morning: “To all the women I have met in my entire life, especially those who believe I did not treat them with the utmost respect and dignity they certainly deserve, I sincerely apologize from the bottom of my heart.
Today and moving forward, I plan to focus much more on my behaviors and actions with all women. This includes women both young and old, to be sure no woman ever feels uncomfortable ever again, especially women that I work with in my profession in classical music.”
The Post article comes after an investigation made by Anne Midgette and Peggy McGlone, who wrote the article, in response to the allegations against James Levine in early December. Following an investigation, Levine was fired from the Metropolitan Opera and later Charles Dutoit was also accused of sexual assault.