Rome's opera house on Friday defended hiring conductor Daniele Gatti, who was fired by an Amsterdam-based orchestra last summer over sexual misconduct allegations.
Teatro dell'Opera di Roma spokesman Renato Bossa said that the
Gatti has denied the allegations that triggered his firing by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
He conducted the Rome opera house's season premiere, Giuseppe Verdi's "Rigoletto," earlier this week, the third straight year he has done so for the Italian capital's
The Rome opera
He added that Gatti was feeling better and would conduct the orchestra, in the same Giuseppe Verdi work, on Sunday.
But separately, Gatti's personal spokesman, Paolo Cairoli, said that the conductor, "due to health problems," was
Engagements being scrapped included with the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig, on Feb. 21 and 22; of four performances in April of Verdi's "Otello" with the Berlin Philharmonic in Baden-Baden and Berlin, as well as with the German National Youth Orchestra.
"Maestro Gatti expresses all his regret and looks forward to future collaborations with all musical institutions involved," Cairoli said in a statement.
The Berlin Philharmonic announced that Zubin Mehta will replace Gatti for the "Otello" performances.
For several years, the Rome institution has been intent on improving its profile in a country where Milan's La Scala reigns supreme in the opera world. It suffered a hard blow a few years ago when maestro Riccardo Muti, weary of union disputes, abruptly ended his collaboration with Teatro dell'Opera di Roma.
Fuortes lauded Gatti's "extraordinary artistic career" as well as the "reciprocal establishment of trust he has nurtured with the orchestra and the chorus."
Earlier this year, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra said it had ended its affiliation with Gatti as chief conductor in the wake of a Washington Post story in which the conductor was "accused of inappropriate
Gatti's lawyer denounced the allegations as a "smear campaign" and said the maestro had asked his lawyers to "protect his reputation." Gatti had become the Dutch orchestra's chief conductor at the start of the 2016-2017 concert season.
The Milan-born Gatti has in the past been principal conductor of Rome's Orchestra Dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and chief conductor of London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Gatti was the third important conductor in the past year to lose his job over allegations of inappropriate
Charles Dutoit resigned as artistic director and principal conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra after The Associated Press late last year reported sexual assault allegations against him. James Levine, music director emeritus of New York's Metropolitan Opera, was fired after the company said an investigation had found evidence of sexual abuse and harassment. Both men denied any improper
AP Writer Ronald Blum contributed from New York."
Frances D'Emilio is on twitter at www.twitter.com/fdemilio
Frances D'Emilio, The Associated Press