"Met Opera fires conductor Levine after "'credible evidence' of misconduct

Met opera fires conductor after sexual misconduct probe

Met opera fires conductor after sexual misconduct probe

James Levine, whose 46-year career at the Metropolitan Opera established him as a towering figure in classical music, was sacked by the company on Monday after an investigation found evidence of sexual abuse and harassment.

The Met says claims its management or board had covered up information of Levine's conduct were unsubstantiated.

According to an unsigned statement that the Met sent out late Monday afternoon, the internal investigation that the company announced in December, after reports alleging Levine's sexually abusive behavior were made public, has concluded. 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.

"While this termination of the Met's relationship with Levine obviously brings a certain degree of closure, it is our hope that the Met's early introduction of Yannick Nezet-Seguin portends a willingness to invest more robustly both in talent and creating a healthy workplace culture", clarinetist Jessica Phillips, chair of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra Committee, said in a statement.

The accusations against Levine reported in The Times went back decades, and shared marked similarities. In total Levine conducted more than 2,500 performances with the company and was an influencer in classical music. He said that at one point Levine had the group don blindfolds and masturbate partners they could not see.

He said he was reaching out to police in Lake Forest because some of his encounters with Levine took place there in the mid-1980s.

In addition to his 40-year tenure at the Met, Levine was also a former music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, and the Ravinia Festival, the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. 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.

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