Austin Opera fires artistic director over charges of inappropriate behavior

Richard Buckley — whose position received a $1 million endowment last year — was fired effective immediately


Austin Opera has terminated its employment contract with Richard Buckley, the organization’s longtime artistic director and its principal conductor citing charges of inappropriate behavior.

In a statement, opera officials said Buckley’s termination was effective immediately. Austin Opera is in the midst of presenting a production of Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos at the Long Center for the Performing Arts. Conductor Robert Mollicone will step in to the lead the remaining performances.

The statement reads:

“Following an investigation conducted by Austin Opera and outside counsel, it was determined that inappropriate behavior in violation of the company’s policy on harassment had occurred that was not consistent with the values and standards of Austin Opera.

Austin Opera will take steps to ensure that those impacted by this conduct have access to any support they may need. Out of respect for those affected by this conduct, Austin Opera trustees and staff will not be disclosing any further details about the incidents that occurred.

Buckley is an acclaimed musician who joined Austin Opera in 2003.  Just last year Austin Opera received a $1 million donation to endow the position of artistic director from Sarah and Ernest Butler, longtime arts patrons and namesake donors of the University of Texas’ Butler School of Music.


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