Renowned conductor, James Levine, sacked by New York's Metropolitan Opera

Joann Johnston
March 13, 2018

In December, the Met said it was suspending its relationship with longtime conductor James Levine pending an investigation into multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

A leadership transition was already underway at the Met, following Levine's retirement as music director in 2016.

"The investigation uncovered credible evidence that Mr. Levine had engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct both before and during the period when he worked at the Met", the opera said in a statement Monday.

Fittingly perhaps, his final Met appearance was conducting Verdi's "Requiem" in December.

The accusers said Levine had sexually abused them when they were teenagers.

Levine has denied the allegations, calling them "unfounded".

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

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The Met, which like many major USA music institutions has a constant challenge of shoring up its finances, has acted quickly to move past the taint of Levine. The company announced last month that Levine's Canadian successor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, would take on his new role next season, two years ahead of schedule. Law enforcement officials said a year ago that they would not bring criminal charges against Levine, noting that while the state's age of consent is now 17 - and 18 in some cases - it was still 16 in 1986.

Although the Met did not describe the nature of the alleged abuse, a Globe investigation recently found that as a young conductor working in Cleveland, Levine attracted a cult-like group of devotees.

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.

"Obviously that's not what it was, but we were led to believe that".

The New York Post first reported about a 2016 police report in IL that alleged that Levine abused a boy starting in 1985 when the purported victim was 15.

Levine has been the most prominent classical musician to date to be called out publicly as a sexual harasser or abuser in the wake of the #metoo movement.

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