The opera star David Daniels, one of the world’s best-known countertenors, took a leave of absence from his job as a music professor at the University of Michigan on Wednesday after a young singer accused him of drugging and raping him after a performance in Houston in 2010.
The singer, Samuel Schultz, a 32-year-old baritone, said in an interview on Wednesday that he had been drugged and raped by Mr. Daniels and Mr. Daniels’s partner, Scott Walters, who is now his husband, when Mr. Daniels was appearing at Houston Grand Opera.
Mr. Schultz’s accusation was first reported by The Daily News, which quoted two people who said that Mr. Schultz had told them of the attack at the time.
Mr. Daniels and Mr. Walters — who were married in 2014 by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg — did not immediately return emails or telephone calls seeking comment. Both men denied the allegations to The News, telling the newspaper that they were “false.” Mr. Daniels’s manager, Matthew Horner, said in a statement that “at this time, neither David Daniels nor IMG Artists has any comment on this matter.’’
Mr. Daniels’s success at singing high parts that were once the province of castratos or mezzo-sopranos helped inspire a new generation of countertenors — and added fuel to revival of works by Handel, which provided him with some of his best roles at the Metropolitan Opera and with companies around the world. The accusation against him is the latest instance of the classical music industry grappling with allegations of sexual misconduct; over the past year, the conductors James Levine, Charles Dutoit and Daniele Gatti have been accused of inappropriate behavior.
The accusation against Mr. Daniels came to light after Mr. Schultz posted an account online in which he wrote that “a celebrated opera singer and his boyfriend raped me,” but the account did not include names. In it, Mr. Schultz said he had been afraid to come forward sooner, in part because it could have harmed his career. But he said he hoped to inspire “others to come forward and say #MeToo.”
In the interview, Mr. Schultz said the incident had occurred in May 2010, just after he had finished his first year in graduate school at Rice University in Houston. He said he had been introduced to Mr. Daniels and Mr. Walters by a friend, and had attended the final night of Handel’s “Xerxes” and the cast party afterward. Then, he said, he was invited to Mr. Daniels and Mr. Walters’s apartment. There, Mr. Schultz said, they gave him a drink that caused him to lose consciousness. When he woke up the next afternoon, he said in a statement that he has shared with the police, he was alone in the apartment, naked and bleeding from his rectum.
When Mr. Daniels returned, Mr. Schultz said, Mr. Daniels made a remark that Mr. Schultz understood to mean that they had had sex without a condom.
Mr. Schultz has gone on to sing with Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera and other companies. He said that while he told his family, his therapist and some friends about what happened, he had been afraid to come forward before now.
“I had so much fear about being excluded from this industry I was just starting out in,” he said in the interview.
He said that the University of Michigan Police Department had contacted him last month soon after he posted his statement online; officials at Houston Grand Opera said that they were contacted by the university police, as well. Mr. Schultz said that his statement was then forwarded to the Houston Police Department, which opened an investigation.
Perryn Leech, the managing director of Houston Grand Opera, said in a statement that “we will cooperate with any law enforcement inquiries and launch our own investigation once we know the full range of the allegations.”
Part of a Houston Police Department report reviewed by The New York Times shows that the case was reported at the end of July, referred by an outside agency. Jodi Silva, a spokeswoman for the department, said she could not comment on the names of the victim or perpetrator in a sex crimes investigation, but that the case seen by The Times was still active.
Kim Broekhuizen, a spokeswoman for the University of Michigan, said in an email Wednesday afternoon that Mr. Daniels had agreed to take a leave of absence.
At the University of Michigan, every report we receive, in whatever form, is taken seriously and is carefully reviewed for appropriate action,” she said, adding: “We want everyone to feel comfortable reporting any such incident to the university. We believe strongly in the philosophy of ‘see something, say something.’ ”