Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Musical director James Levine fired by Met Opera for 'sexually abusive' conduct

Metropolitan Opera fires James Levine after finding 'credible evidence' of sexual abuse Metropolitan Opera Fires Conductor James Levine for 'Sexually Abusive and Harassing Conduct'
Rosie Leonard | 13 March, 2018, 11:31

The Met released a statement announcing it had terminated its relationship with Levine, 74, as music director emeritus and artistic director of its young artist program following the three-month investigation conducted by outside counsel.

James Levine, whose 46-year career at the Metropolitan Opera established him as a towering figure in classical music, was sacked by the company on Monday after an investigation found evidence of sexual abuse and harassment. After that, Mr. Levine held an emeritus role.

The New York Times report notes more than 70 people came forward with allegations or information regarding his abuses. He was also removed as artistic director of the Met's young artists' programme.

"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 statement continued, in part.

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.

Meanwhile, the Met said that complaints and rumours that its officials or board of directors had covered up Levine's conduct were completely unfounded, adding that it seeks to ensure that its employees and artists have a safe and abuse-free environment in which to work. Many of his performances were televised by PBS, and singers rearranged their schedules to appear in his performances or even to audition for him.

Other musicians who have quit or lost positions over alleged abuse include hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and Charles Dutoit, until recently the principal conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London.

A leadership transition was already underway at the Met, following Levine's retirement as music director in 2016.

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 then suffered spinal stenosis, leading to surgeries in May and July 2011. Law enforcement officials said a year ago 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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