Met Opera conductor fired over sex claims

Lula Sharp
March 13, 2018

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.

"In light of these findings, the Met concludes that it would be inappropriate and impossible for Mr. Levine to continue to work at the Met", it said in the statement.

Four men accused Levine of assault, including Ashok Pai, who told the Daily News that the conductor "basically sexually assaulted me hundreds of times". In his absence, Dallas Opera music director Emmanuel Villaume directed seven Met performances of Puccini's Tosca. An internal investigation included interviews with more than 70 people.

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The James Levine era is officially over at the Metropolitan Opera. The Met also appointed attorney Robert J. Cleary, a former USA attorney and the current head of the investigations practice at the Proskauer Rose law firm, to lead the investigation into the allegations that took place from the 1960s to 1980s.

The Met said it has "terminated its relationship" with Levine, who retired in 2016 amid failing health but until the scandal had remained a frequent presence as a conductor. The investigation found that Levine exerted enormous control over this group, dictating all aspects of its members' lives and coercing them into unwanted sex acts. The man said Levine would lay naked with him and touched his penis. 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.

"Based on recent accounts in the media regarding James Levine, Ravinia has severed all ties with the conductor who served as music director of the festival from 1973 through 1993".

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