• A Message from COC General Director Alexander Neef on La Traviata

    By Alexander Neef

    In recent weeks, there have been many questions about the decision to engage Stephen Lord as conductor for La Traviata next season, following allegations of harassment that emerged against him last summer.

    I have heard a lot of concern expressed for our team, as well as visiting cast and crew members. I also heard a desire for us, as a leading Canadian performing arts organization, to re-examine how we consider all aspects of such consequential matters. I am deeply grateful for everyone who came to us with their thoughts.

    While no new information surrounding the allegations has come to light, I understand that having a safe workplace extends far beyond physical well-being. A supportive environment is crucial to fostering confidence and creativity and I am committed to providing that for all staff and visiting artists. Keeping in mind the best interests of the company, the COC’s core values, and – most of all – our people, I have asked Mr. Lord to withdraw from La Traviata.

    The company is now looking for a new guest conductor for next spring and we will provide an update on that when there is more to share.

    We are also taking steps to ensure that the conversation around harassment in the workplace does not end here. The COC has a number of resources already in place to help identify and talk about misconduct and abuse – but we can always do better.

    We will be using what we have learned over the past few weeks to help develop new strategies for keeping the lines of communication open and empowering our team to speak up with confidence.


    Alexander Neef

    COC General Director

    Posted in Press Releases


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