Metropolitan Opera Fires Former Music Director James Levine

Metropolitan Opera Fires Former Music Director James Levine

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". An internal investigation included interviews with more than 70 people.

Even before the accusations, the Met had been moving toward a post-Levine era.

"Mr. Levine will not be involved in any Met activities, including conducting scheduled performances at the Met this season", the Met said in a statement at that time.

Fittingly perhaps, his final Met appearance was conducting Verdi's "Requiem" in December.

The New York Post first reported about a 2016 police report in IL that alleged that Levine abused a boy starting in 1985 when the purported victim was 15. The Met also appointed attorney Robert J. Cleary, a former USA attorney and the current head of the investigations practice at the Proskauer Rose law firm, to lead the investigation into the allegations that took place from the 1960s to 1980s.

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At the time, the Met indicated that there were multiple allegations against Levine.

The Met reported, however, that they found no substantiating evidence that the Met's management or its board of directors "engaged in a cover-up of information". He alleged that the much-older Levine fondled his penis when he was a teenager and masturbated naked in front of him, describing hundreds of incidents. Levine was to begin a five-year term as Conductor Laureate in the summer of 2018.

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.

Ashok Pai said he had been abused by Levine for years, beginning in 1986 near the Ravinia Festival in IL, when he was 16. Three decades later - after, Pai said, therapy had helped him realize how destructive those encounters had been - he detailed his accusations in the fall of 2016 to the Lake Forest Police Department in IL. Levine served as music director at the Ravinia Festival - in Highland Park, Illinois north of Chicago - from 1973 to 1993. Law enforcement officials said past year 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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