The Metropolitan Opera in New York has officially ended its 40-year relationship with former Music Director Emeritus James Levine. This comes in the wake of a three month investigation launched by the Met which discovered “credible evidence” that the conductor had “engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct both before and during the period when he worked at the Met”.
James Levine. Photo: Hiroyuki Ito
Levine was suspended and the investigation launched after a 2016 police report surfaced in a which a man accused Levine of sexually abusing him three decades ago, beginning when he was a teenager. Many more allegations have since been published, with the most recent an investigative piece from The Boston Globe detailing accusations of Levine’s manipulation and abuse of young students in the late 1960s and early 70s.
In a statement, the Met said that the investigation also “uncovered credible evidence that Mr. Levine engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct towards vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers, over whom Mr. Levine had authority.”
After considering the investigation’s findings and interviewing more than 70 people, the Met has determined that “it would be inappropriate and impossible for Mr. Levine to continue to work at the Met.” Levine has been Music Director at the house since 1976, and been involved with its young artist program since 1980.
The statement also said “any claims or rumours that members of the Met’s management or its Board of Directors engaged in a cover-up of information relating to these issues are completely unsubstantiated.”
The company announced last month that Levine’s successor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, would take on the Music Director position next season, two years ahead of schedule.