James Levine Fired By Metropolitan Opera Over Sex Harassment Claims

MET-LEVINE

Late Monday afternoon, New York's hallowed Metropolitan Opera announced that it had fired conductor James Levine - an artist who had a close affiliation with the opera house for more than four decades - after a monthslong investigation into claims of "sexually abusive and harassing conduct". After that, Mr. Levine held an emeritus role.

The Met also strongly denied its management or directors had tried to cover up the allegations. Levine guided the Met's orchestra for 40 years as music director.

Tim Fox of Columbia Artists, who represents the 74-year-old conductor, did not respond to an email seeking comment.

The Met says in a Monday statement that its investigation found Levine "engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct towards vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers".

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.

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James Levine was often hailed as one of the top USA conductors of his generation. Many of his performances were televised by PBS, and singers rearranged their schedules to appear in his performances or even to audition for him.

The statement from the opera noted that the investigation, which was conducted by an outside counsel, uncovered conduct both before and during his tenure as the artistic director of the Met.

His power waned only because of health problems. Levine was to begin a five-year term as Conductor Laureate in the summer of 2018. He had another operation that September after falling and damaging a vertebra, an injury that sidelined him until May 2013.

The accusers said Levine had sexually abused them when they were teenagers. "The artists of the Metropolitan Opera, like workers in every industry, deserve a safe place of work".

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