Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Met Opera fires James Levine, finding 'credible evidence' of sexual misconduct

Met Opera fires James Levine, finding 'credible evidence' of sexual misconduct

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".

Levine has been the most prominent classical musician to date to be called out publicly as a sexual harasser or abuser in the wake of the #metoo movement.

The more than three-month-long investigation involved interviews with more than 70 individuals, according to the Met.

"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", it said in the statement.

At the time, he was serving as music director emeritus and artistic director of its young artist program at the Met.

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Tim Fox of Columbia Artists, who represents the 74-year-old conductor, did not respond to an email seeking comment.

The Met says claims its management or board had covered up information of Levine's conduct were unsubstantiated. Levine served as music director at the Ravinia Festival - in Highland Park, Illinois north of Chicago - from 1973 to 1993.

Instantly recognizable by his bushy frock of hair and towel draped over a shoulder during rehearsals, he regularly conducted at the Vienna Philharmonic, Berlin Philharmonic, Bayreuth Festival and Salzburg Festival. Brown, who went on to play principal bass in the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, said that one night in the dorms, Levine had masturbated him and asked him to reciprocate - and then punished Brown when he declined to do so again, ignoring him for the rest of the summer, even when he was conducting him. He had another operation that September after falling and damaging a vertebra, an injury that sidelined him until May 2013.

At the time, the Met indicated that there were multiple allegations against Levine. After years of ill health, he stepped down as music director two seasons ago.

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