Met Opera conductor fired over sex claims

James Levine in 2009

In December, Levine was suspended from his posts as music director emeritus and head of its young artist program; he was sacked this week after an internal investigation revealed "sexually abusive and harassing conduct". Dutoit has denied the allegations.

The Met said in its statement on Monday that more than 70 people had been interviewed in the investigation, which took more than three months and was led by an outside counsel.

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.

The Telegraph has approached Levine's representatives for comment.

The Met added that in addition to its findings on the allegations against Levine, the investigation suggested that any claims of a cover-up are "completely unsubstantiated".

But some questions arose early on about how the company had handled the case, including the fact that it began its investigation more than a year after Peter Gelb, its general manager, was first told that police in IL were investigating an accusation that Levine had sexually abused a teenage boy there in the 1980s. His fame transcended classical music: He shared the screen with Mickey Mouse in Disney's Fantasia 2000, and made the cover of Time magazine in 1983, under a headline proclaiming him "America's Top Maestro". Many of his performances were televised by PBS, and singers rearranged their schedules to appear in his performances or even to audition for him. He was, for a time, musical director for the Cincinnati May Festival and has occasionally returned to Cincinnati to conduct.

His power waned only because of health problems. He then suffered spinal stenosis, leading to surgeries in May and July 2011.

Up until now, all public allegations against Levine had concerned an earlier era in his career, before he became principal conductor at the Met in 1973. "Such commitment to the future is essential if the institution wishes to attract the world's finest musicians, several of whom have already departed due to wage cuts, among other workplace issues".



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