Met Opera conductor fired over sex claims


Acclaimed conductor James Levine was sacked Monday by the Metropolitan Opera after an investigation uncovered credible evidence of "sexually abusive" conduct.

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".

The Met says in a Monday statement that its investigation found Levine "engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct towards vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers".

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".

The company suspended Levine in December in light of the allegations, which span from the 1960s through the 1980s.

Levine was music director at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, from 1973 to 1993. Levine called the accusations "unfounded", saying in a statement that "I have not lived my life as an oppressor or an aggressor".

The James Levine era is officially over at the Metropolitan Opera.

Yannick Nezet-Seguin was hired two years ago to replace Levine as music director starting in 2020-21, but last month the Met said it had moved up the start of his tenure to next season.

At the time of the investigation's launch, General Manager Peter Gelb told the New York Times that the Met was first made aware of the initial charges in October 2016 when the police report was made, though at the time they did not hear further from the police and Levine had denied the actions in the report. The man said Levine would lay naked with him and touched his penis. Levine was to begin a five-year term as Conductor Laureate in the summer of 2018. 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. Pai grew up near the festival, where Levine was music director, and wanted to become a conductor.