Metropolitan Opera Fires James Levine After Sexual Abuse Investigation

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Levine made his debut with the Met aged 28 in 1971, becoming principal conductor two years later and music director in 1975.

The Met said in a Monday statement that its investigation found Levine "engaged in sexually abusive and harassing conduct towards vulnerable artists in the early stages of their careers".

Even before the accusations, the Met had been moving toward a post-Levine era. The investigation found that Levine exerted enormous control over this group, dictating all aspects of its members' lives and coercing them into unwanted sex acts.

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". The Met also appointed attorney Robert J. Cleary, a former USA attorney and the current head of the investigations practice at the Proskauer Rose law firm, to lead the investigation into the allegations that took place from the 1960s to 1980s.

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Levine was suspended by the Met in December pending the investigation of allegations from four accusers detailed in The New York Times.

Quoting former students, the newspaper said that Levine would pressure them to cut off ties with the outside world and pledge loyalty to him as he led meetings that involved everything from studying opera scenes to anonymous sex. Levine was to begin a five-year term as Conductor Laureate in the summer of 2018.

Albin Ifsich, who went on to have a long career as a violinist in the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, said that he had been abused by Levine for several years, beginning at Meadow Brook and continuing after he joined the group of young musicians who followed Levine to Cleveland and later NY.

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. Met officials said they were launching an investigation. Levine guided the Met's orchestra for 40 years as music director.

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