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Opera Project Columbus Investigating Conductor For Sexual Misconduct

Opera Project Columbus music director Alessandro Siciliani at the Lincoln Theatre.
Opera Project Columbus
Opera Project Columbus music director Alessandro Siciliani at the Lincoln Theatre.

The music director for Opera Project Columbus is under fire. The organization is investigating Alessandro Siciliani over complaints of sexual misconduct and temperamental behavior.

The story was broken Wednesday by Andy Downing of Columbus Alive. He said he first heard of a Title IX complaint against the director and spoke to the complainant.

"After a rehearsal, Siliciani extended his hand and lifted up her skirt," Downing said. "When she noticed him, she kind of slapped it away and stared at him, and he made a comment about, 'Oh, that skirt needs to be shorter for your character.'"

Downing also uncovered another complaint of sexual harassment, as well as one involving an alleged angry outburst.

Sicilianiis the former conductor of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and took the ensemble to Carnegie Hall. He conducted at the Metropolitan Opera as well as across Europe.

The organization says it's investigating the allegations. In the meantime, Opera Project Columbus' executive director, artistic administrator and chorus master have all resigned. 

Downing says that those resignations aren't the only thing that put OPC's future into question. The organization's largest funder is a patron of Siciliani named George Skestos.

"Skestos said that he would stop donating if the organization parted ways with Siciliani," Downing says. "And that's even if they go through this investigation process and find the complaints to be valid. He said he would still pull funding."

Siciliani responded to a request for comment saying he was out of the country and unable to discuss the matter until October.

Clare Roth was former All Things Considered Host for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU in February of 2017. After attending the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she returned to her native Iowa as a producer for Iowa Public Radio.