Michigan Opera Theatre conductor resigns following allegations of sexual harassment

The Michigan Opera Theatre announced Wednesday afternoon its principal conductor, Stephen Lord, would step down immediately.

The MOT accepted Lord's resignation after public allegations of Lord's past, which included behavior of sexual harassment.

"Stephen has had a long and successful relationship with Michigan Opera Theatre, and we appreciate his artistic leadership, especially in his last three years as Principal Conductor," said Wayne S. Brown, president and CEO of the theatre.

The allegations were made public in a report in the Twin Cities Arts Reader, titled FEATURE: Threats, Quid Pro Quo, Harassment, & Obscene Messages: Abuse On An Operatic Scale.

In the article, posted June 18, it cites several statements made by Lord to musicians and individuals in the fine arts profession, while also providing an indepth review of those allegations made against Lord. The story cites Lord's status in the opera field, including his when Opera News named him as one of the '25 Most Powerful Names in U.S. Opera'."

Before Lord was the principal director of the Michigan Opera Theatre, he had worked in Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and the Boston Lyric Opera. 

The Arts Reader referred to electronic messages and anecdotal evidence from sources to detail how Lord used his standing in the opera community to harass young musicians and performers. The resignation of Lord comes as the Opera industry reckons with the #MeToo movement. 

Almost a year ago, an investigation by the Arts Reader found several instances of sexual misconduct against Matthew Stump, a bass-baritone who had been hired by the Michigan Opera Theatre for a production. At the same time, Lord was found to be advocating for Stump behind the scenes.

While the Michigan Opera Theatre ultimately re-casted the roll that Stump had been hired to perform, emails did surface showcasing Lord's support for Stump.