Metropolitan Opera fires music director after sexual abuse investigation

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

Metropolitan Opera Fires Conductor James Levine for 'Sexually Abusive and Harassing Conduct'

Late Monday afternoon, New York's hallowed Metropolitan Opera announced that it had fired conductor James Levine - an artist who had a close affiliation with the opera house for more than four decades - after a monthslong investigation into claims of "sexually abusive and harassing conduct".

One of the documents examined during the investigation was a police report that had been filed in Lake Forest, Illinois, in October 2016, in which an unidentified man claimed that he had been the victim of sexual abuse by Levine three decades ago when he was 15 and the conductor was 41. The company said "it would be inappropriate and impossible for Mr. Levine to continue to work at the Met".

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.

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

The Met hired former U.S. Attorney Robert J. Cleary, now a partner at Proskauer Rose, to head its investigation, and the company said more than 70 people were interviewed.

Following the death of Leonard Bernstein in 1990, Levine was regarded as the top American conductor and was given a starring role in the film "Fantasia 2000".

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He made the Met's orchestra into one of the finest in the world, led the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Munich Philharmonic and gained worldwide renown through recordings, telecasts and videos. Yannick Nézet-Séguin will take up the post of music director at the Met next season.

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.

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.

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

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