On Saturday, December 2, the Metropolitan Opera announced that it has begun an investigation into allegations against the infamous conductor James Levine of sexual abuse.
Claims that Levine began molesting the boy when he was 15-years-old and continued through the 1980s, are being looked into the opera said.
In October 2016, when the case was taken on by Illinois police, is when Met officials first became aware of the accusations.
The general manager of the Met, Peter Gelb, said, “At the time, Mr. Levine said that the charges were completely false, and we relied upon the further investigation of the police. We need to determine if these charges are true and, if they are, take appropriate action.”
On twitter, the opera posted, “We are deeply disturbed by the news articles that are being published online today about James Levine.” They added that they are working with “outside resources,” so that they can take “appropriate action.”
On Sunday, December 3, the museum announced the due to sexual misconduct allegations, it would be suspending Levine.
On Twitter, the museum wrote, “We are suspending our relationship with James Levine, pending an investigation, following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct by Mr. Levine that took place from the 1960’s to the 1980’s, including the earlier part of his conducting career at the Met.”
The Daily News’ sources said that people in the industry had been expecting the allegations against Levine to surface, since over a dozen men had accused former actor Kevin Spacey of sexual misconduct, including unwanted touching.
Rumors about the famous conductor’s misdeeds going back at least four decades have been heard by the critic Greg Sandow, according to what he told the Daily News. In 2004, Sandow even wrote about the rumors in a blog. In 2016, he was contacted by a Lake Forest detective looking for specific details regarding the rumors.
The former Village Voice writer, Sandow, said, “It was so widely talked about that there was no single a-ha moment.” He added, “If these stories are true, they need to come out.”
In 2003, Johanna Fiedler wrote a book about the Met, entitled “Molto Agitato,” in which Levine’s alleged sexual misconduct was detailed.
In the book, Fiedler writes, “One rumor, however, was particularly persistent. Levine, it was said, had had a relationship with a boy whose parents had gone to the Met board, threatening to expose the situation. Supposedly the board then authorized a major payoff to the family.”
According to The Daily News, “The Met conductor announced in April 2016 that he was going to step down as music director at the end of that season. Levine cited health problems as the reason. He remained with the arts group in an emeritus role. More than a year after the opera was notified about the Illinois probe, Levine is still appearing at Lincoln Center. He made a rare stage appearance to conduct Verdi’s Requiem on four occasions from Nov. 24 to Saturday, ending with the matinee performance. Levine is slated to direct Puccini’s Tosca on New Year’s Eve.”
By Rachel Shapiro