Met Opera fires conductor James Levine after sexual abuse probe

Met Opera fires conductor James Levine after sexual abuse probe

Met Opera fires conductor James Levine after sexual abuse probe

In December, Levine was suspended from his posts as music director emeritus and head of its young artist program; he was sacked this week after an internal investigation revealed "sexually abusive and harassing conduct".

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

"The investigation uncovered credible evidence that Mr Levine had engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct both before and during the period when he worked at the Met", the company said in a statement.

The company suspended the 74-year-old and opened its investigation in December after four men accused him of sexual assault. The Lake County state's attorney's office in IL said in December it investigated a sexual abuse allegation of misconduct dating to the 1980s but concluded "no criminal charges can be brought" and cited multiple factors, including "the relevant age of consent in IL at the time of the alleged incidents".

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.

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Levine was held in very high esteem by the Met's orchestra, and was also music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Ravinia Music Festival from 1973-1993 and the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 2004-2011, and chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic from 1999-2004. Levine guided the Met's orchestra for 40 years as music director. That sparked a massive investigation by the Met, and led to Levine's ultimate dismissal.

"As anyone who truly knows me will attest, I have not lived my life as an oppressor or an aggressor", he said in a statement. Yannick Nézet-Séguin will take up the post of music director at the Met next season.

Chris Brown, a member of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra for three decades, said that Levine masturbated him and encouraged him to reciprocate when he was 17 at the Meadow Brook School of Music in MI.

The accusations against Levine reported in The Times went back decades, and shared marked similarities.

Levine has not been charged with any criminal offense. Famed conductor James Levine is now enduring a disgraceful exit from the MET due to sexual misconduct.

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