Met fires James Levine after investigation into sexual abuse

13 March, 2018, 11:30 | Author: Ann Santiago
  • Met opera fires conductor after sexual misconduct probe

The Metropolitan Opera on Monday fired longtime conductor James Levine, citing "credible evidence" of "sexually abusive" conduct.

The Met, however, also absolved itself of blame after criticism that it could have acted before longstanding allegations about Levine made headlines amid the growing spotlight in the United States on sexual abuse by powerful men.

In a statement, the Met said the investigation found that Levine, 74, abused "vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers", adding that it would be impossible for him to continue his working relationship.

"Any claims or rumors that members of the Met's management or its board of directors engaged in a coverup of information relating to these issues are completely unsubstantiated", it said.

We thank the more than 70 individuals who were interviewed during the course of the investigation.

The press reports to date have focused on Levine's conduct before his Met employment. Charles Dutoit, the former music director of the Orchestre de Montreal and a prominent guest conductor around the globe, has also been alleged to be a perpetrator.

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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.

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

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. He said that at one point Levine had the group don blindfolds and masturbate partners they could not see.

Until today's announcement, Levine had held the titles of music director emeritus and artist director of its vaunted young artist program for rising professionals.

Albin Ifsich, who went on to have a long career as a violinist in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, said that he had been abused by Levine for several years, beginning at Meadow Brook and continuing after he joined the group of young musicians who followed Levine to Cleveland and later NY.

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.

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