In the latest response to The Washington Post’s report about sexual harassment in classical music, Bernard Uzan, 73, the stage director and artists’ manager, announced that he is leaving opera.
“I come from a very different culture, I am of the sixties generation, which is not an excuse, but simply a fact, and I have made my mistakes throughout my life,” Uzan wrote in a letter that he sent first to the artists on his roster and then issued as a release by his agency. “If I have offended any of you, I deeply apologize. The world has changed tremendously and continues to change every day at a fast speed. While I still deny the recent allegations, I am realizing that it is very difficult, practically impossible, for me to adapt to the new rules of behavior and human relations. I will now concentrate and consecrate my life to my other passion, writing.”
In The Washington Post story, four women accused Uzan of sexually harassing behavior, including inappropriate language, propositions and groping.
Uzan, who had already resigned on Sunday from his post as co-director of the young artist studio at the Florida Grand Opera, was one of three men alleged to have sexually harassed women in the story. Since it appeared — posted online July 26 and in print Sunday — there have been a number of consequences. William Preucil, the concertmaster of the Cleveland Orchestra, accused of assaulting a young violinist in his hotel room during a teaching stint at the New World Symphony in Miami, has been placed on paid leave by the orchestra and has resigned his position at the Cleveland Institute of Music, as well as being removed from the programs of several scheduled concerts. He was also removed from his post as distinguished visiting professor of violin at Furman University in South Carolina.
As of Wednesday there was no statement from the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam about Daniele Gatti, its chief conductor, who was accused in the article of assaulting two women in his dressing rooms, one in Chicago and one in Bologna, Italy. The Concertgebouw offices were operating on limited summer hours through July, and some staff members are on vacation. Gatti has, however, engaged a publicity firm, the Reputation Doctor, through which he issued a blanket apology “to all the women I have met in my entire life.”
Uzan International Arts, the agency Uzan founded and has run with his daughter, Vanessa Uzan, represents more than 100 artists, including singers, conductors, and stage directors. Several singers said that they had left the agency in the wake of The Post’s revelations.
In his letter, Uzan said that he is turning over the agency to Vanessa, who has effectively been doing the heavy work of running it for some time.
Uzan was also scheduled to direct Massenet’s opera “Werther” at the Florida Grand Opera in March. His name has been removed from the website.
“I had a long life full of obstacles and tragedies,” Uzan said in his statement. “The past few years I had to deal with many health problems and it is imperative that I take care of it. My life has also been full of wonderful moments and experiences of which I am very grateful.”