Musical director James Levine fired by Met Opera for 'sexually abusive' conduct

Met opera fires conductor after sexual misconduct probe

The leading United States opera house had already suspended Levine in December after allegations first became public against him.

Late previous year, three men came forward with allegations of misconduct against Levine in a report in the New York Times, and Levine was suspended.

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 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 also appointed attorney Robert J. Cleary, a former US 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.

Levine had routinely denied the allegations.

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James Levine was often hailed as one of the top U.S. conductors of his generation.

The Met said it has "terminated its relationship" with Levine, who retired in 2016 amid failing health but until the scandal had remained a frequent presence as a conductor. Levine served as music director at the Ravinia Festival - in Highland Park, Illinois north of Chicago - from 1973 to 1993. Levine was to begin a five-year term as Conductor Laureate in the summer of 2018. He then suffered spinal stenosis, leading to surgeries in May and July 2011.

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.

The company said they found evidence of abuse and harassment "both before and during the period" he worked at the opera. "Such commitment to the future is essential if the institution wishes to attract the world's finest musicians, several of whom have already departed due to wage cuts, among other workplace issues".