A former oboist at Welsh National Opera, who is claiming wrongful dismissal, has accused former conductor Carlo Rizzi of "bullying" at an employment tribunal in Cardiff this week.
Oboe player Murray "Sandy" Johnston, 61, was sacked in 2008 after playing for the company for 34 years.
He says Rizzi began singling him out for criticism in 2004. He told Johnston to work on his "ensemble playing" (i.e., playing with a group of other musicians) and blending the sound of the oboe with the rest of the woodwind section, and then with the wider orchestra.
Johnston told the tribunal that Rizzi went too far with the criticism and at one rehearsal picked on him for over three hours.
He was then asked to re-audition for his job as principal oboist at the orchestra.
Johnston passed the audition but he says management stayed on his back. Then, three and a half years, he was dismissed. He is now claiming wrongful dismissal.
Musicians Union rep Bill Kerr told the tribunal passing the capability test meant Johnston "proved himself".
He said: "Unless the company had a tangible reason to doubt his ability it appeared to be a witch hunt.
"It is quite unusual for someone to go through the capability test procedure, and even more unusual for them to pass it.
"Once someone is under suspicion then that person stays permanently under suspicion and there's no way of clearing their name.
"If you are not up to the job then you are spotted pretty quickly. It wouldn't take a three-and-a-half year process."
WNO's managing director Peter Bellingham disagrees and said Rizzi -- who will not be giving evidence -- felt Johnston was "holding the orchestra back".
He said: "Because of the sensitivity of dealing with an artist, we felt it would be wholly inappropriate to give Mr Johnston a formal warning.
"That would put him under more pressure than the route we chose to take.
"We had a process of identifying what issues with his playing needed improvement, and communicating what steps were required to bring him back to acceptable standard.
"That process took three and a half years."
The tribunal is expected to conclude later today.