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Met sacks conductor James Levine over 'credible evidence' of abuse

14 March 2018

New York's Metropolitan Opera has fired eminent conductor James Levine, after an internal inquiry found "credible evidence" to support claims he sexually abused young male musicians.

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.

One of the world's most celebrated conductors has seen his career end in disgrace after he was found to have engaged in "sexually abusive and harassing conduct" and sacked from the New York Metropolitan Opera. Days later, another man told The Times that Levine had also abused him when he was in his 20s.

Levine had been a towering figure in the company's history, ruling over its repertoire, orchestra and singers as music or artistic director from 1976 until he stepped down under pressure two years ago.

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Yesterday Mr Levine, 74, was sacked as the Met's director emeritus, a job he was given following his retirement in 2016 as music director, a position he held for more than 40 years.

The statement, which was not signed by the Met's general manager, Peter Gelb, or the opera house's board of directors, also states that "any claims of 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". That sparked a massive investigation by the Met, and led to Levine's ultimate dismissal.

The Met hired former U.S. Attorney Robert J. Cleary, now a partner at Proskauer Rose, to head its investigation, and the company said more than 70 people were interviewed. The Times published a front page story in December 2017 about Levine's alleged sexual misconducts and abuse.

"As anyone who truly knows me will attest, I have not lived my life as an oppressor or an aggressor".

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In December London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra relieved its principal conductor and artistic director Charles Dutoit of his duties following allegations against him, which he denies.

A leadership transition was already underway at the Met, following Levine's retirement as music director in 2016.

The accusations against Levine reported in The Times went back decades, and shared marked similarities.

Levine has not been charged with any criminal offence.

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Met sacks conductor James Levine over 'credible evidence' of abuse