Rome opera hires Gatti, who lost job over #metoo allegations

FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2009 file photo, Italian Daniele Gatti conducts the Boston Symphony Orchestra during the opening night gala of Carnegie Hall's

FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2009 file photo, Italian Daniele Gatti conducts the Boston Symphony Orchestra during the opening night gala of Carnegie Hall's

ROME (AP) — Rome's opera house is defending hiring conductor Daniele Gatti, who was fired by an Amsterdam-based orchestra last summer over sexual misconduct allegations.

Teatro dell'Opera di Roma spokesman Renato Bossa said on Friday that the theater signed Gatti this week to a three-year contract as musical director because in a country with "rule of law, one is innocent until a trial proves otherwise."

However, Bossa termed the allegations "certainly very grave." Gatti has denied the allegations that triggered his firing by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

Gatti conducted the Rome opera house's season premiere, "Rigoletto," earlier this week, the third straight year he has conducted the theater's season opener. But the 57-year-old maestro skipped Thursday's performance due to a heart arrhythmia.

Bossa said Gatti would conduct the orchestra on Sunday.