Culture&Arts

Metropolitan Opera sacks legendary conductor Levine after abuse probe

Metropolitan Opera sacks legendary conductor Levine after abuse probe

The Metropolitan Opera has fired its well-known music director and conductor, James Levine, after an investigation found that Levine had engaged in sexual harassment and misconduct.

The New York Post first reported about a 2016 police report in IL that alleged that Levine abused a boy starting in 1985 when the purported victim was 15.

"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 company said.

The statement said rumors that opera's board of directors were involved in a cover-up were "completely unsubstantiated". Allegations in 2017 of sexual assaults in the past led the Met to suspend its relationship with him and to cancel any future engagements by Levine.

The Met did not release specifics of the evidence, though said that more than 70 people had been interviewed.

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.

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 has denied the allegations, calling them "unfounded".

The accusations against Levine reported in The Times went back decades, and shared marked similarities. Met officials said they were launching an investigation.

Albin Ifsich told the New York Times that Levine, now 74, began abusing him in 1968 when he was 20 years old and continued for several years. The man said Levine would lay naked with him and touched his penis.

Ashok Pai said he had been abused by Levine for years, beginning in 1986 near the Ravinia Festival in IL, when he was 16.

He said he was reaching out to police in Lake Forest because some of his encounters with Levine took place there in the mid-1980s. Law enforcement officials said past year that they would not bring criminal charges against Levine, noting that while the state's age of consent is now 17 - and 18 in some cases - it was still 16 in 1986.


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