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Our motto: "Critical thinking in the cheap seats." Unbiased, honest classical music and opera opinions, occasional obituaries and classical news reporting, since 2007. All written content © 2018 by Paul J. Pelkonen. For more about Superconductor, visit this link. For advertising rates, click this link. Follow us on Facebook.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Metropolitan Opera Conductor Suspended

James Levine is under investigation for statutory rape.
by Paul J. Pelkonen
Screen grab from the New York Post today, taken by the author.
The Post article ran Saturday December 2. Content of this image © The New York Post.

According to a story in The New York Times, three accusers have now come forward, accusing Metropolitan Opera music director emeritus James Levine of inappropriate sexual contact. Mr. Levine was suspended by the Met pending further investigation and his conducting schedule has been cancelled for the foreseeable future.

The story first appeared in an article in the Saturday New York Post, written by Isabel Vincent and Melissa Klein, details a 2016 police report filed in Lake Forest, Illinois. In it, an unnamed Illinois victim accused the conductor of multiple sexual assaults dating from a time when Mr. Levine was 41 and his accuser was just 15.


The story in the Post also states that the accuser brought his story to a retired Metropolitan Opera board member who informed general manager Peter Gelb. Mr. Levine, now 74, continues to work at the Metropolitan Opera, where he has conducted since 1971. This afternoon he conducted the final 2017 performance of the Verdi Requiem. 

On Saturday, an article written by Michael Cooper in The New York Times (link here behind paywall) added some more detail to the picture. Mr. Gelb indicated in the Times that the Met is going to begin an in-house investigation into the Levine case.

Today, the Met issued the following statement:
 "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. Mr. Levine will not be involved in any Met activities, including conducting scheduled performances at the Met this season.

'While we await the results of the investigation, based on these new news reports, the Met has made the decision to act now,' said Peter Gelb, Met General Manager, whose actions are fully supported by the leadership of the Met Board and its Executive Committee. "This is a tragedy for anyone whose life has been affected.'"

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Since 2007, Superconductor has grown from an occasional concert or CD review to a near-daily publication covering classical music, opera and the arts in and around NYC, with excursions to Boston, Philadelphia, and upstate NY. I am a freelance writer living and working in Brooklyn NY. And no, I'm not a conductor.