Met Opera fires James Levine, finding 'credible evidence' of sexual misconduct

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

The New York Metropolitan Opera announced Monday that it has fired its conductor, 10-time Grammy award victor James Levine, after an investigation found "credible evidence" that he "engaged in sexually abusive" conduct toward artists. His abusive conduct during his Met tenure has yet to be revealed in print.

The company said they found evidence of abuse and harassment "both before and during the period" he worked at the opera.

The Met, however, also absolved itself of blame after criticism that it could have acted before longstanding allegations about Levine made headlines amid the growing spotlight in the United States on sexual abuse by powerful men.

"Mr. Levine will not be involved in any Met activities, including conducting scheduled performances at the Met this season", the Met said in a statement at that time.

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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". Met officials said they were launching an investigation.

The Met suspended Levine, 74, in December after several accusations of sexual misconduct stretching from the 1960s to 1980s.

James Lestock, a cellist, said that he, too, was abused that summer when he was a student, and said that the abuse continued in Cleveland, where a tight-knit clique of musicians followed Levine, who was then an assistant conductor at the Cleveland Orchestra on the cusp of a major career. 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.

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

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