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Disgraced Levine: Met Opera delivers coup de grace

The Metropolitan Opera announced Monday that it had severed ties with James Levine, its longtime music and artistic director, shown here in a 2006 photo. In December, Levine was suspended from his posts as music director emeritus and head of its young artist program; he was fired this week after an internal investigation revealed “sexually abusive and harassing conduct.” (Associated Press)

The Metropolitan Opera has severed all ties with James Levine, its former artistic director turned music director emeritus and head of its young artist program.

According to an unsigned statement that the Met sent out late Monday afternoon, it had finished the internal investigation that the company announced in December after reports were made public alleging that Levine was sexually abusive. Involving interviews with more than 70 people, the report, the statement said, “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 press reports to date have focused on Levine’s conduct before his Met employment. Most recently, an article in the Boston Globe revealed a cultlike group of acolytes who allegedly submitted to him musically and sexually, to the degree of distancing themselves from family and friends. His allegedly abusive conduct during his Met tenure has yet to be revealed in print.

[Institutions raced to dump James Levine. They should look hard at themselves.]

“The investigation also found that any claims or rumors 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 statement said.

The Met had received copies of a police report relating to one alleged case of abuse in October 2016, but did not act on it until the news reports appeared in December 2017.

Levine has been the most prominent classical musician to date to be called out publicly as a sexual harasser or abuser in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Charles Dutoit, the former music director of the Orchestre de Montreal and a prominent guest conductor around the globe, has also been alleged to be a perpetrator. Richard Buckley was dismissed from the Austin Opera, and Daniel Lipton was allowed to resign from Opera Tampa, amid similar allegations.

In addition to his 40-year tenure at the Met, Levine was also a former music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Munich Philharmonic, and the Ravinia Festival, the summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.