Metropolitan Opera suspends James Levine; launches sexual abuse investigation

Posted on: December 4, 2017

“The Metropolitan Opera suspended James Levine, its revered conductor and former music director, on Sunday after three men came forward with accusations that Mr. Levine sexually abused them decades ago, when the men were teenagers,” writes Michael Cooper in Sunday’s (12/3) New York Times. “Peter Gelb, the general manager of the Met, announced that the company was suspending its four-decade relationship with Mr. Levine, 74, and canceling his upcoming conducting engagements after learning from The New York Times on Sunday about the accounts of the three men, who described a series of similar sexual encounters beginning in the late 1960s. The Met has also asked an outside law firm to investigate Mr. Levine’s behavior…. The men coming forward now said that some of the abuse started years ago, at the beginning of Mr. Levine’s career.” An official at the Ravinia Festival outside Chicago, where Levine was music director from 1973 to 1993 and “where Mr. Levine is scheduled to begin an ongoing annual residency next summer, said … ‘Ravinia finds these allegations very disturbing and contrary to its zero-tolerance policies and culture.… Ravinia will take any actions that it deems appropriate following the results of these investigations.’ The Boston Symphony Orchestra, which Mr. Levine led from 2004 through 2011, said in a statement Sunday that it had conducted ‘a personal and professional review of all aspects of James Levine’s candidacy’ before naming him its music director, and that it had never been approached during his tenure with accusations of inappropriate behavior.”

Posted December 4, 2017

Pictured: James Levine leading the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra at Carnegie Hall in 2016. Photo by Robert Altman / New York Times