S.F. Opera drops singer over as­sault al­le­ga­tions

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - DATEBOOK - By Joshua Kosman

The San Fran­cisco Opera has dropped coun­tertenor David Daniels from its June pro­duc­tion of Han­del’s “Or­lando” in the wake of sex­ual as­sault al­le­ga­tions made against the singer, the com­pany an­nounced Thurs­day, Nov. 8.

“The de­ci­sion to part ways with Mr. Daniels, for busi­ness and pro­fes­sional rea­sons, was reached af­ter con­sid­er­able de­lib­er­a­tion given the se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual as­sault, an on­go­ing po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion and a law­suit filed against the Amer­i­can opera singer,” ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from the Opera.

In Au­gust, a young singer, bari­tone Sa­muel Schultz, ac­cused Daniels and his hus­band, con­duc­tor Scott Wal­ters, of hav­ing drugged and raped him in 2010. A sec­ond ac­cu­sa­tion fol­lowed in Oc­to­ber, when An­drew Lip­ian, a stu­dent at the Univer­sity of Michi­gan — where Daniels is on the voice fac­ulty — sued both him and the school over an al­leged sex­ual as­sault.

Daniels, who is on leave from the univer­sity, has de­nied both ac­cu­sa­tions.

“While th­ese sit­u­a­tions re­main un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, San Fran­cisco Opera is un­able to present the artist on the War Memo­rial Opera House stage,” said the com­pany’s state­ment.

Daniels’ re­moval is the lat­est in a se­ries of con­se­quences to be­fall prom­i­nent mu­si­cians who have been ac­cused of sex­ual mis­con­duct.

Most re­cently, the Cleve­land Or­ches­tra fired two high­pro­file mem­bers — long­time con­cert­mas­ter Wil­liam Preucil and prin­ci­pal trom­bon­ist Mas­simo La Rosa — over al­le­ga­tions that they had sex­u­ally ha­rassed fe­male col­leagues and stu­dents over a pe­riod of years.

In De­cem­ber 2017, the San Fran­cisco Sym­phony sev­ered its long­stand­ing ties with con­duc­tor Charles Du­toit af­ter four women ac­cused him of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing them.

Daniels’ sched­uled ap­pear­ance in the role of Me­doro would have been his sixth en­gage­ment at the Opera since mak­ing his com­pany de­but in 1998 in Mon­teverdi’s “L’In­coro­n­azione di Pop­pea.” Since then he has ap­peared in four op­eras by Han­del: “Giulio Ce­sare,” “Rodelinda,” “Xerxes” and most re­cently, in 2014, “Partenope.”

The com­pany said it would an­nounce a re­place­ment for Daniels at a later date. Joshua Kosman is The San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle’s mu­sic critic. Email: jkos­man@ sfchron­i­cle.com Twit­ter: @JoshuaKos­man

Kurov Alexan­der / Zuma Press 2015

David Daniels per­forms in “Rodelinda” in Moscow.

Cory Weaver 2011

David Daniels per­forms with Heidi Sto­ber (left) and Lisette Oropesa in Han­del’s “Xerxes.”

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