Published: Wed, December 06, 2017
Sports | By Ivan Ross

New York Met Opera suspends longtime conductor over sexual abuse allegations

New York Met Opera suspends longtime conductor over sexual abuse allegations

The Metropolitan Opera announced that Villaume will conduct the opening performance on December 31, 2017, and January 3, 6, 9, 12, 23, and 27, 2018, replacing James Levine after being suspended due to sexual misconduct.

In a statement released on Monday, the prestigious NY opera said it was launching an investigation into allegations made against the revered conductor and music director.

Levine told the student he had to "understand" him sexually to help him play the violin, and masturbated in front of him, according to the report.

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Accusations first came to light over the weekend after The New York Post reported that one of Levine's accusers claimed he had sexual contact with Levine as a teenager. The incidents were said to have taken place from the 1960s to the 1980s and are being investigated by Robert J. Cleary, a former USA attorney and the head of investigations at the Proskauer Rose law firm.

The Metropolitan Opera says Levine denied the allegations.

Now the claims are being investigated, but Levine has not responded publicly.

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Albin Ifsich told The New York Times that Levine began abusing him in 1968, when he was a 20-year-old student at the Meadow Brook School of Music in MI, where Levine was on the faculty.

He remained at the institution in the position of music director emeritus.

Maestro Villaume, who recently conducted Massenet's Thaïs at the Met, is Music Director of the Dallas Opera and Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Prague Philharmonia.

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After two additional accounts were published, the Met General Manager, Peter Gelb, made a statement announcing Levine's suspension.

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