Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Medicine | By Melba Vasquez

Met Opera Fires Conductor James Levine After Sexual Misconduct Investigation

Met Opera Fires Conductor James Levine After Sexual Misconduct Investigation

The Metropolitan Opera has fired James Levine after an internal inquiry found "credible evidence" of sexual abuse.

Levine, who served as music director with the opera company for almost 40 years, was first suspended in December as the Met launched an investigation. "In light of these findings, the Met concludes that it would be inappropriate and impossible for Mr. Levine to continue to work at the Met".

The Met opened an investigation past year into James Levine, following reports that he abused a teenage boy decades ago. That move effectively fires Levine from two posts, as the Met's music director emeritus and artistic director of its young artist program.

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. That sparked a massive investigation by the Met, and led to Levine's ultimate dismissal.

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The statement, which was not signed by the Met's general manager, Peter Gelb, or the opera house's board of directors, also states that "any claims of rumors that members of the Met's management or its board of directors engaged in a cover-up of information relating to these issues are completely unsubstantiated".

The allegations detailed in the NYT included assertions that Levine engaged in sexual activity with teenage boy musicians in ensembles he conducted, and go as far back as 1968, when he was a member of the faculty at the Meadow Brook School of Music in MI.

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.

In total, the Met interview more than 70 people.

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

But how could any of this go unnoticed, for decades?

The conductor has not been criminally charged and, unless more recent incidents are uncovered, the alleged misconduct took place too long ago for prosecution.

The conductor in an earlier statement called the allegations against him "unfounded", saying he was not an "oppressor or an aggressor".

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