Met Opera Fires Conductor James Levine After Sexual Misconduct Investigation

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

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.

But some questions arose early on about how the company had handled the case, including the fact that it began its investigation more than a year after Peter Gelb, its general manager, was first told that police in IL were investigating an accusation that Levine had sexually abused a teenage boy there in the 1980s.

Earlier during the investigation, Levine denied the allegations stating the accusations were "unfounded" and that "I have not lived my life as an oppressor or an aggressor".

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According to an unsigned statement that the Met sent out late Monday afternoon, the internal investigation that the company announced in December, after reports alleging Levine's sexually abusive behavior were made public, has concluded. He became music director emeritus and remained head of its young artists program but was suspended on December 3 after accounts in the New York Post and The New York Times of sexual misconduct dating to the 1960s. The company says "it would be inappropriate and impossible for Mr. Levine to continue to work at the Met".

The statement said rumors that opera's board of directors were involved in a cover-up were "completely unsubstantiated".

The investigation included interviews with more than 70 people. Many of his performances were televised by PBS, and singers rearranged their schedules to appear in his performances or even to audition for him.

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Levine was music director at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, from 1973 to 1993.

His power waned only because of health problems. Met officials said they were launching an investigation.

It has brought forward the appointment of Levine's successor, youthful French Canadian Yannick Nezet-Seguin, who will become music director with the upcoming season. Levine was to begin a five-year term as Conductor Laureate in the summer of 2018. "The artists of the Metropolitan Opera, like workers in every industry, deserve a safe place of work".

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