Metropolitan Opera Fires James Levine For Sexual Misconduct

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"The investigation uncovered credible evidence that Mr Levine had engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct both before and during the period when he worked at the Met", the opera house said in a statement. Levine is one of the most prominent musicians to see his career ended in the #MeToo era, initially triggered by the furor over alleged widespread abuse by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

New York's Metropolitan Opera said on Monday (March 12) that it had fired its longtime conductor and musical director James Levine after an inquiry found " credible evidence" to support accusations against him of sexual misconduct.

The Met hired former U.S. attorney Robert J. Cleary to head its investigation, and the company said more than 70 people were interviewed.

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

The conductor in an earlier statement called the allegations against him "unfounded", saying he was not an "oppressor or an aggressor".

Levine's accuser, now middle-aged, contacted the police department in Lake Forest, Illinois, in October of 2016 to report that he'd had sexual contact with the conductor when he was under age 18.

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Albin Ifsich told the New York Times that Levine, now 74, began abusing him in 1968 when he was 20 years old and continued for several years.

"Mr. Levine will not be involved in any Met activities, including conducting scheduled performances at the Met this season", the Met said in a statement at that time.

The Met added that in addition to its findings on the allegations against Levine, the investigation suggested that any claims of a cover-up are "completely unsubstantiated". Levine guided the Met's orchestra for 40 years as music director.

He has made numerous recordings, as well as television and radio broadcasts, with the Met. Levine has also held leadership positions with the Ravinia Festival, the Munich Philharmonic, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Levine started conducting from a chair in late 2001 and tremors in his left arm and leg became noticeable a few years later.

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