James Levine has sued the Metropolitan Opera for breach of contract and defamation, three days after the company fired him. The decision came after its independent investigation found that the conductor, whose relationship with the house spans 40 years, had “engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct both before and during the period when he worked at the Met”.
The New York City lawsuit seeks more than $4 million for breach of contract and unspecified damages for defamation. As reported by The New York Times, it states that Levine’s contract as the Met’s Music Director Emeritus called for him to be paid an annual salary of $400,000 and $27,000 for each of his scheduled performances, all of which were cancelled by the house. The suit argues that Levine’s contract contained no provision for his firing or suspension.
It also states that the conductor “has clearly and unequivocally denied any wrongdoing in connection with those allegations”, and characterises the termination of his contract as the result of a plan by General Manager Peter Gelb to “oust Levine from the Met and completely erase his legacy from the organisation.”
The suit also...