March 21, 2018

James Levine Fired From Metropolitan Opera

13 March 2018, 05:16 | Israel Caldwell

Met Opera fires longtime conductor after sexual abuse investigation

Metropolitan Opera fires James Levine after finding 'credible evidence' of sexual abuse

The Met said Monday that it has fired the 74-year-old conductor, who made his debut with the company in 1971 and served as its music director from 1976 to 2016.

The Met said in a Monday statement that its investigation found Levine "engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct towards vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers".

The Met says claims its management or board had covered up information of Levine's conduct were unsubstantiated. Levine called the accusations "unfounded", saying in a statement that "I have not lived my life as an oppressor or an aggressor". The Met also appointed attorney Robert J. Cleary, a former USA attorney and the current head of the investigations practice at the Proskauer Rose law firm, to lead the investigation into the allegations that took place from the 1960s to 1980s.

According to police reports, the alleged victim told police his parents brought him backstage at the Ravinia Festival to meet Levine in the 70's while Levine was the music director.

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His power waned only because of health problems.

Yannick Nezet-Seguin was hired two years ago to replace Levine as music director starting in 2020-21, but last month the Met said it had moved up the start of his tenure to next season.

At the time, the Met indicated that there were multiple allegations against Levine. Brown, who went on to play principal bass in the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, said that one night in the dorms, Levine had masturbated him and asked him to reciprocate - and then punished Brown when he declined to do so again, ignoring him for the rest of the summer, even when he was conducting him. "Such commitment to the future is essential if the institution wishes to attract the world's finest musicians, several of whom have already departed due to wage cuts, among other workplace issues".

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