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

James Levine in 2009

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

Levine was music director at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, from 1973 to 1993.

New York's Metropolitan Opera said Monday it was terminating its relationship with legendary longtime conductor James Levine after finding "credible evidence" that he sexually abused younger musicians. Now the Met finds itself forced to court both philanthropists and audiences as it faces hard questions about what it knew, or should have known, about its star conductor. At the time, Levine denied the allegations against him.

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".

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The Met, which like many major U.S. music institutions has a constant challenge of shoring up its finances, has acted quickly to move past the taint of Levine. After that, Mr. Levine held an emeritus role. Law enforcement officials said previous year that they would not bring criminal charges against Levine, noting that while the state's age of consent is now 17 - and 18 in some cases - it was still 16 in 1986. He alleged that the much-older Levine fondled his penis when he was a teenager and masturbated naked in front of him, describing hundreds of incidents.

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

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

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

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