Culture&Arts

New York's Metropolitan Opera suspends conductor James Levine after sex abuse accusations

New York's Metropolitan Opera suspends conductor James Levine after sex abuse accusations

Following a New York Times report of a fourth abuse victim, the Ravinia Festival has severed all connections with conductor James Levine over the allegations of sexual abuse of underaged teen musicians.

"Behavior by any employee of the BSO that runs counter to these core values and beliefs would not be tolerated and would be met with the most serious consequences", the statement concluded.

- Ashok Pai, living near the Ravinia Festival in IL where Levine was music director from 1973 to 1993, who reported to the Lake Forest, Ill., Police Department previous year that he was sexually abused by the conductor starting in 1986, when he was 16.

Another alleged victim, James Lestock, said he had his first encounter with Levine in 1968 when he was a 17-year-old music student in MI, according to the Times. As music director emeritus, Levine was still conducting and had been scheduled to lead upcoming productions, including a planned New Year's Eve gala featuring Puccini's "Tosca".

Levine himself addressed the rumors in The New York Times in 1987, recalling an old story that he had been arrested "in Pittsburgh or Hawaii or Dallas".

The accusations against Levine, among the most prominent classical music conductors in the world, are the latest in a stream of sexual misconduct charges involving high-profile men in entertainment and the media that have rocked the nation since accusations against film mogul Harvey Weinstein were reported in October.

The opera company honored Levine with the title of Music Director Emeritus after the end the 2015-2016 season. Nelsons bowed out after his wife, soprano Kristine Opolais, withdrew from the starring role in the opera.

The news shook the opera house Monday. Questions are being raised on what it knew about the widespread allegations against Levine.

James Levine                       The Metropolitan Opera CNN Newsource
James Levine The Metropolitan Opera CNN Newsource

Gelb could not be reached for comment on why the Met deemed the charges worthy of investigation at this time, but not a year ago. The Met suspended him December 3 after the additional accusations surfaced, according to the Times.

JWC Media Explore more of our great network.

In an interview in The Times in 1998, Levine declined to respond to the speculation.

"The Met did not wish to interfere with the police investigation and thought it was the purview of the IL police department to follow through and question those who could corroborate (the) allegation", the opera's spokeswoman, Lee Abrahamian, said.

"I think the general feeling is of anguish", Ms. Phillips said. The first report of the allegations, in the New York Post, was published not long after the performance. But at the time the Met took no action.

Following a 22-year absence from the downtown series, Levine returned in May 2005 to direct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in an all-Brahms concert to benefit the musicians' pension fund. Then-music director Daniel Barenboim was the piano soloist.

Possibly complicating the decision for the Met past year on whether to act against Levine was the fact that it had - for decades - been asked by reporters about persistent, unproven stories about his sexual habits and had always written them off as the product of an overactive rumor mill.





  • Jason Aldean & Wife Welcome Baby Boy

    Jason Aldean & Wife Welcome Baby Boy

    Memphis Aldean came into the world on Friday weighing in at 9 pounds and five ounces. In case you missed it, the couple welcomed their son on Friday, Dec 1 at 1:29pm.
    Governor Cooper Proclaims Computer Science Education Week

    Governor Cooper Proclaims Computer Science Education Week

    According to Hadi Partovi, founder and CEO of Code.org, 10 million girls now have accounts on the site. More than 70 school districts agreed to expand computer-science education in some way, Code.org said.
    Singer Pink is raising her children gender neutral

    Singer Pink is raising her children gender neutral

    The star also revealed that her daughter had come up with a hilarious nickname for President Donald Trump. Pink posted a photo of the bathroom label on her social media account and captioned it, "Progress".
  • X-rays on Stephen Curry's ankle negative, MRI Tuesday

    X-rays on Stephen Curry's ankle negative, MRI Tuesday

    New Orleans shot 58.7 percent from the field after the first two quarters and picked up an assist on 20 of its 27 baskets. Golden State are now 2-0 when faced with a 20-point half-time deficit this season, when they had previously been 2-150.
    Google is Giving Pixelbook and Chromebook Plus Owners Free Netflix

    Google is Giving Pixelbook and Chromebook Plus Owners Free Netflix

    Also if you own a Netflix plan with a different tier the also you can add this discount of $65.94 over your current project. The six months apply to Netflix's $10.99 per month streaming plan that lets two people stream at once.
    Florida former congresswoman gets 5 years after fraud conviction

    Florida former congresswoman gets 5 years after fraud conviction

    Last year, Wiley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and agreed to cooperate with the government in the case. Brown's only spoken words during the sentencing were "thank you" directed at Corrigan after he handed down his decision.
  • Police officer shot dead while serving warrant in Central Texas

    Police officer shot dead while serving warrant in Central Texas

    The officer was wearing a protective vest and was transported to Central Texas Medical Center but died shortly after police said. Cecilia and I extend our heartfelt condolences to the officer's family and to the entire San Marcos Police Department.
    Florida State meeting with Oregon's Willie Taggart today

    Florida State meeting with Oregon's Willie Taggart today

    Taggart and Virginia Tech's Justin Fuente are rumored to be Florida State's first choices to replace Fisher. The piece sounds a lot like the last few days of the Jimbo Fisher era at Florida State.
    These astronauts made pizza in space - but how did it taste?

    These astronauts made pizza in space - but how did it taste?

    And it's one of those foods astronauts are nearly certain to get cravings for during long stays outside of the Earth's atmosphere. Fellow Expedition 53 crew member, astronaut Randy Bresnik ‏, uploaded a minute-long video of the assembly process.
  • State Senate Retail Forum Postponed Amid Rosenberg Investigation

    State Senate Retail Forum Postponed Amid Rosenberg Investigation

    Chandler will continue in the post through the course of an investigation into Rosenberg and his staff. Rosenberg sent a letter to Chandler, informing her that he is stepping away from the presidency.
    Best man for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding revealed

    Best man for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding revealed

    William's children with wife Kate Middleton-Prince George and Princess Charlotte-will boast roles in the much anticipated wedding. It's also likely that William will plan his younger brother's bachelor party.
    Bryan Singer Has Reportedly Been Fired from the Queen Biopic

    Bryan Singer Has Reportedly Been Fired from the Queen Biopic

    Tensions have grown on set between the director and star Rami Malek , who is playing Freddie Mercury , over Singer's absence. With two weeks of principal photography left, Fox is expected to name a replacement director right away.