Metropolitan Opera fires James Levine after sexual abuse allegations

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The New York Times reports that The Metropolitan Opera has fired conductor James Levine following "credible evidence" that Mr. Levine had engaged in "sexually abusive and harassing conduct".

After considering the findings of a thorough investigation conducted by outside counsel that lasted more than three months, the Metropolitan Opera has terminated its relationship with James Levine as Music Director Emeritus and Artistic Director of its young artist program.

"Based on recent accounts in the media regarding James Levine, Ravinia has severed all ties with the conductor who served as music director of the festival from 1973 through 1993".

The Met added that in addition to its findings on the allegations against Levine, the investigation suggested that any claims of a cover-up are "completely unsubstantiated".

The company said they found evidence of abuse and harassment "both before and during the period" he worked at the opera. Allegations in 2017 of sexual assaults in the past led the Met to suspend its relationship with him and to cancel any future engagements by Levine.

The Met, which like many major United States music institutions has a constant challenge of shoring up its finances, has acted quickly to move past the taint of Levine.

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The conductor in an earlier statement called the allegations against him "unfounded", saying he was not an "oppressor or an aggressor".

Levine, 74, was said by younger musicians to have sexually abused them when they were vulnerable students and he was the charismatic visiting instructor, with most cases dating decades ago.

Levine's accuser, now middle-aged, contacted the police department in Lake Forest, Illinois, in October of 2016 to report that he'd had sexual contact with the conductor when he was under age 18. The man said Levine would lay naked with him and touched his penis.

Levine has always been one of the most famous maestros in the world of classical music, and for more than 40 years his career has been entwined with the Met, where he served as music director from 1976-2016.

Chris Brown said that Levine had abused him in the summer of 1968, when he was a 17-year-old student at the Meadow Brook School of Music in MI and Levine led the school's orchestral institute.