Friday, 19 October, 2018

Met Opera sacks James Levine after abuse probe

Met Opera sacks James Levine after abuse probe Met Opera sacks James Levine after abuse probe
Michele Schwartz | 13 March, 2018, 11:29

NEW YORK-The Metropolitan Opera fired James Levine on Monday evening, ending its association with a conductor who defined the company for more than four decades after an investigation found what the Met called credible evidence that Levine had engaged in "sexually abusive and harassing conduct".

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.

The leading United States opera house had already suspended Levine in December after allegations first became public against him.

The investigation, which the Met opened in December after a report in The New York Times, found evidence of abuse and harassment "both before and during the period" when Levine worked at the Met, the company said in a statement. "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 investigation, lasting more than three months, included interviews with more than 70 people and was launched by the Opera after complaints against Levine made late past year.

The Met says claims its management or board had covered up information of Levine's conduct were unsubstantiated. Many of his performances were televised by PBS, and singers rearranged their schedules to appear in his performances or even to audition for him. 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.

He has made numerous recordings, as well as television and radio broadcasts, with the Met. Levine has also held leadership positions with the Ravinia Festival, the Munich Philharmonic, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

The Met said it has "terminated its relationship" with Levine, who retired in 2016 amid failing health but until the scandal had remained a frequent presence as a conductor. Levine was to begin a five-year term as Conductor Laureate in the summer of 2018. "Such commitment to the future is essential if the institution wishes to attract the world's finest musicians, several of whom have already departed due to wage cuts, among other workplace issues".

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