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Metropolitan Opera Fires Conductor James Levine for ‘Sexually Abusive and Harassing Conduct’

The Metropolitan Opera has fired its well-known music director and conductor, James Levine, after an investigation found that Levine had engaged in sexual harassment and misconduct.

According to a statement posted on the Met’s website, the investigation had “uncovered credible evidence that Mr. Levine had engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct both before and during the period when he worked at the Met.” The statement continued, “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,” where he was serving as music director emeritus and artistic director of the organization’s young artist program.

Late last year, three men came forward with allegations of misconduct against Levine in a report in the New York Times, and Levine was suspended. According to the Met’s most recent statement, more than 70 people were interviewed in the investigation, which was led by Robert J. Cleary of the law firm Proskauer Rose.

Levine has long been one of the most famous maestros in the world of classical music, and for more than 40 years his career has been entwined with the Met, where he served as music director from 1976-2016.

The Met’s statement went on to clear the organization’s board of directors of any suspicion of trying to hide knowledge of Levine’s behavior. “The investigation also found that any claims or rumors that members of the Met’s management or its Board of Directors engaged in a cover-up of information relating to these issues are completely unsubstantiated,” it read.

A leadership transition was already underway at the Met, following Levine’s retirement as music director in 2016. Yannick Nézet-Séguin will take up the post of music director at the Met next season.

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