Ex-Michigan Opera Theatre director accused of offering roles for sexual favors

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The artistic director of the Michigan Opera Theatre resigned suddenly amid allegations of sexual harassment.

An arts publication reported that Steven Lord sent performers inappropriate messages like this one: "If you sleep with me, you would have so many jobs."

In a YouTube video from 2017 he described his new job with the Michigan Opera Theatre like this: "My new title is principal conductor, but it is more encompassing than that," Lord said. "It is an awful lot of artistic stuff.  there is a lot of artistic stuff - casting, and whatever else, it's kind of all mixed up and kind of a wonderful mix."

Lord replaced the opera's iconic leader David DiChiera but now he is out, resigning in the wake of an explosive report that alleges he sexually harassed singers, conductors and musicians for more than a decade. 

The publication cited messages he sent, including "I could cast you in so many things," "I could make or break your career," “If only you slept with me." 

One day after the article appeared, the theater made a statement saying: Michigan Opera Theatre announced today that Steven Lord has resigned from the company effective immediately. MOT accepted the resignation following public allegations of Lord's past behavior which do not align with the company's values and standards."

Opera president and CEO Wayne Brown continued: "Stephen has had a long history with the Michigan Opera Theatre and we appreciate his artistic leadership, especially in his last three years as principal conductor."

An opera spokesperson told FOX 2 that no one has complained to the Michigan Opera about Lord's conduct during his time in Detroit. 

She said the allegations came as a complete surprise. Lord also resigned as director for the theater in St. Louis. He could not be reached for comment.

In April, Lord conducted Hansel & Gretel for the Michigan Opera, he was scheduled to conduct Sweeny Todd in November. The opera says the show will go on with a different conductor, but right now they do not know who that will be. 

The theatre has been searching for a permanent leader since 2016, that search is expected to accelerate.