Monday, 25 June, 2018

Met fires James Levine after investigation into sexual abuse

Metropolitan Opera fires music director James Levine for sexual harassment allegations Metropolitan Opera fires James Levine after finding 'credible evidence' of sexual abuse
Herman Weaver | 13 March, 2018, 11:28

One of the world's most celebrated conductors has seen his career end in disgrace after he was found to have engaged in "sexually abusive and harassing conduct" and sacked from the New York Metropolitan Opera. The Met did not release the specific findings of its investigation, which it said had included interviews with 70 people.

The Met said it was ending the honorary position of music director emeritus for Levine, who retired in 2016 but until the scandal had still been a frequent presence as a conductor. The company says "it would be inappropriate and impossible for Mr. Levine to continue to work at the Met".

He was revered by the Met's orchestra, board and patrons during a reign as chief conductor (1973-76), music director (1976-86 and 2004-16) and artistic director (1986-2004).

The Metropolitan Opera has officially fired James Levine.

"Mr. Levine will not be involved in any Met activities, including conducting scheduled performances at the Met this season", the Met said in a statement at that time.

Fittingly perhaps, his final Met appearance was conducting Verdi's "Requiem" in December. 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 man, who is now 48 and whose name has not been revealed, said the abuse continued for years and drove him to the brink of suicide.

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The Met says claims its management or board had covered up information of Levine's conduct were unsubstantiated.

The accusations against Levine reported in The Times went back decades, and shared marked similarities. Levine was to begin a five-year term as Conductor Laureate in the summer of 2018.

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

Ashok Pai said he had been abused by Levine for years, beginning in 1986 near the Ravinia Festival in IL, when he was 16.

In a statement on its website, the Met said it was "terminating" its relationship with Levine as Music Director Emeritus and artistic director of its young artist program.

He said he was reaching out to police in Lake Forest because some of his encounters with Levine took place there in the mid-1980s.

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