NEW YORK — The Metropolitan Opera said it’s suspending its relationship with longtime conductor James Levine pending an investigation into multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
In a statement released yesterday, the opera company said Levine, 74, a former Boston Symphony Orchestra conductor for a decade beginning in 2001, will not be involved in any Met activities, “including conducting scheduled performances at the Met this season.”
The Met also said it’s hiring a former U.S. attorney to lead a “full and complete investigation.”
The action comes a day after the New York Post first reported that one of Levine’s accusers claimed he had sexual contact with Levine as a teenager. The New York Times yesterday reported similar accounts from two other men with Levine.
Met officials said in an earlier statement that Levine has denied the charges.
Levine’s accuser, now middle-aged, contacted the police department in Lake Forest, Ill., in October of 2016 to report that he’d had sexual contact with the conductor when he was under age 18.
He said he was reaching out to police in Lake Forest because some of his encounters with Levine took place there in the mid-1980s. Levine served as music director at the Ravinia Festival, outside Chicago, from 1973 to 1993.
Details of the police report were first reported Saturday on the website of the New York Post. Met officials said they learned of the police report last year.
The accuser, whose name is being withheld by The Associated Press, contacted reporters from several news organizations and posted a handful of items on social media accusing Levine of abusing him when he was young.
The accuser, who at the time was hoping for a career in music, told police the conductor had invited him to audition for him in New York and then encouraged him to engage in sexual “experimentation.”
He also said that his relationship with Levine extended well into adulthood and that the composer gave him money over the years when he was having financial problems, amounting to more than $50,000....Read more