Met Opera fires longtime conductor after sexual abuse investigation

Acclaimed conductor James Levine was sacked Monday by the Metropolitan Opera after an investigation uncovered credible evidence of "sexually abusive" conduct.

The investigation, it said, "uncovered credible evidence that Mr. Levine engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct towards vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers, over whom Mr. Levine had authority".

He held the position of music director emeritus and remained head of its young artists program, but was suspended on December 3 after accounts surfaced in the New York Post and The New York Times of sexual misconduct dating back to the 1960s.

The Met said claims its management or board had covered up information of Levine's conduct were unsubstantiated.

The more than three-month-long investigation involved interviews with more than 70 individuals, according to the Met.

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Mr Levine has led more than 2,500 performances at the Met, one of the world's most illustrious opera houses, and is often named among America's top conductors.

Albin Ifsich told the New York Times that Levine, now 74, began abusing him in 1968 when he was 20 years old and continued for several years. Charles Dutoit, the former music director of the Orchestre de Montreal and a prominent guest conductor around the globe, has also been alleged to be a perpetrator.

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. Levine served as music director at the Ravinia Festival, outside Chicago, from 1973 to 1993.

Chris Brown said that Levine had abused him in the summer of 1968, when he was a 17-year-old student at the Meadow Brook School of Music in MI and Levine led the school's orchestral institute. Levine denied the allegations of sexual misconduct, saying he wants to resume his work "with full concentration and inspiration". The man said Levine would lay naked with him and touched his penis.

The accusers said Levine had sexually abused them when they were teenagers.