Local music director resigns over sexual harassment allegations

ST. LOUIS – A long-time player in the local arts scene has resigned from his role with Opera Theatre of St. Louis following allegations of sexual harassment from colleagues.

Less than 24 hours after the allegations came to light Tuesday through an investigative report, Steven Lord stepped down as musical director emeritus in St. Louis and as conductor of the Michigan Opera Theatre.

More than two dozen people were interviewed for the story, which appears in the Twin Cities Arts Reader. The complaints go back at least a decade.

The people who spoke up shared similar complaints, alleging that Lord promised to influence their careers in exchange for sexual arts.

Lord was the music director at Opera Theatre of St. Louis for 25 years before stepping away in 2017. He became a director emeritus and continued to work with the organization while serving as a conductor at the Michigan Opera Theater. He resigned from both organizations on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Opera Theatre of St. Louis removed all content regarding Lord from its website and released a statement saying they accepted his resignation and would conduct and an independent investigation.

Opera Theatre of St. Louis released the following statement on Wednesday:

“We are shocked to learn of the serious allegations made against Stephen Lord....There is no place for harassment of any kind at Opera Theatre of St. Louis and we have strict policies in place for dealing with such matters. We have not received any complaints or reports of harassment...But we take any allegations of possible misconduct extremely seriously...Effective June 18, Mr. Lord tendered his resignation...”

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