Metropolitan Opera fires James Levine after sexual abuse allegations

  • Metropolitan Opera fires James Levine after sexual abuse allegations

Metropolitan Opera fires James Levine after sexual abuse allegations

New York's Metropolitan Opera said Monday it was terminating its relationship with legendary longtime conductor James Levine after finding "credible evidence" that he sexually abused younger musicians.

Levine was suspended by the Met in December pending the investigation of allegations from four accusers detailed in The New York Times. In his absence, Dallas Opera music director Emmanuel Villaume directed seven Met performances of Puccini's Tosca. According to the Met's most recent statement, more than 70 people were interviewed in the investigation, which was led by Robert J. Cleary of the law firm Proskauer Rose.

Levine had routinely denied the allegations. After years of ill health, he stepped down as music director two seasons ago.

Three months after multiple men accused James Levine of sexual assault, the Metropolitan Opera officially fired the conductor.

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.

In addition to his 40-year tenure at the Met, Levine was also a former music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, and the Ravinia Festival, the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

The Met says claims its management or board had covered up information of Levine's conduct were unsubstantiated. Met officials said they were launching an investigation. He alleged that the much-older Levine fondled his penis when he was a teenager and masturbated naked in front of him, describing hundreds of incidents.