Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Life&Culture | By Peggy Hughes

Metropolitan Opera Fires Former Music Director James Levine

Metropolitan Opera Fires Former Music Director James Levine

James Levine, a towering figure on the American music scene who spent 46 years at the head of the New York Metropolitan Opera, was sacked on Monday after an investigation found evidence of sexual abuse and harassment.

James Levine, whose 46-year career at the Metropolitan Opera established him as a towering figure in classical music, was sacked by the company on Monday after an investigation found evidence of sexual abuse and harassment.

Levine officially retired as music director in April 2016, but had stayed on as music director emeritus and artistic director of the Met's young artist program.

Fittingly perhaps, his final Met appearance was conducting Verdi's "Requiem" in December.

The company said they found evidence of abuse and harassment "both before and during the period" he worked at the opera. The Lake County state's attorney's office in IL said in December it investigated a sexual abuse allegation of misconduct dating to the 1980s but concluded "no criminal charges can be brought" and cited multiple factors, including "the relevant age of consent in IL at the time of the alleged incidents".

The statement said rumors that opera's board of directors were involved in a cover-up were "completely unsubstantiated".

Albin Ifsich, who went on to have a long career as a violinist in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, said that he had been abused by Levine for several years, beginning at Meadow Brook and continuing after he joined the group of young musicians who followed Levine to Cleveland and later NY.

The press reports to date have focused on Levine's conduct before his Met employment.

The man, who is now 48 and whose name has not been revealed, said the abuse continued for years and drove him to the brink of suicide.

"Obviously that's not what it was, but we were led to believe that".

The Metropolitan Opera in New York City on Monday announced on Monday it fired famed conductor James Levine after the conclusions of an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against him.

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

Other musicians who have quit or lost positions over alleged abuse include hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and Charles Dutoit, until recently the principal conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London.

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