Met fires Levine; says there was no cover-up of sexual misbehavior
14 March, 2018, 06:25 | Author: Clint Gray
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 claimed that the abuse - including Levine sexually touching him and masturbating in front of him - lasted from 1985 to 1993 and during that time the conductor gave him $50,000 in cash.
The more than three-month-long investigation involved interviews with more than 70 individuals, according to the Met.
Levine, who served as music director with the opera company for almost 40 years, was first suspended in December as the Met launched an investigation.
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One of the world's most celebrated conductors has seen his career end in disgrace after he was found to have engaged in "sexually abusive and harassing conduct" and sacked from the New York Metropolitan Opera. In light of the findings, the Met concludes that it would be inappropriate and impossible for Mr. Levine to continue to work at the Met.
The Met did not release specifics of the evidence.
A representative of Levine's did not respond to Associated Press's request for comment. 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.
Levine has denied the "unfounded" sexual abuse accusations.
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Levine's downfall follows that of 81-year-old Charles Dutoit.
The Met added that in addition to its findings on the allegations against Levine, the investigation suggested that any claims of a cover-up are "completely unsubstantiated".
Following the death of Leonard Bernstein in 1990, Levine was regarded as the top American conductor and was given a starring role in the film "Fantasia 2000". Many of his performances were televised by PBS, and singers would rearrange their schedules to appear in his performances or to audition for him. Between 1986 and 2004, he was the Met's artistic director. He frequently conducted at the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Bayreuth festival and Salzburg festival.
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