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03 December 2017, 08:40 | Melissa Porter
NATION-NOW Met Opera to probe misconduct charges against conductor James Levine
Met Opera to probe misconduct charges against conductor
The Metropolitan Opera has opened an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse against legendary former conductor James Levine, the group said Saturday.
The iconic conductor stepped down as music director from the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center in 2016.
PeterGelb, General Manager of the Met Opera said that he was aware of the allegations when the victim came forward and lodged a complaint with the IL police in October 2016, the Boston Globereported. "The alleged victim informed a former Met Opera board member of the alleged abuse in 2016 and she alerted the Met's general manager, yet Levine continued to wield his baton".
Met officials told the Times they have been aware of the report for over a year. The findings of the police depart have been turned over to the Lake County State's Attorney; a spokeswoman for the State's Attorney has said that the case is still under review, with no charges being laid against Levine at this time.
"At the time, [Levine] said that the charges were completely false, and we didn't hear anything further from the police", says Gelb.
In a tweet, the Met said it was "deeply disturbed" by the claims published online and was investigating "with outside resources" in order to take appropriate action.
Levine, who once led the BSO, has been accused of molesting IL teenager decades ago.
"I began seeing a 41-year-old man when I was 15, without really understanding I was really "seeing" him", the Post quoted the alleged victim as saying in a written statement to police.
The accuser, who at the time was hoping for a career in music, told police the conductor had invited him to audition for him in NY and then encouraged him to engage in sexual "experimentation".
The alleged abuse "nearly destroyed my family and almost led me to suicide". He was trying to seduce me.
The newspapers said the man first met the maestro as a four-year-old at the Ravinia Music Festival in Chicago's posh North Shore suburbs, where Levine was guest conductor for decades. I couldn't see this.
The newly disclosed report is not the first instance of allegations against Levine; a 1987 Times piece referenced rumors of the conductor's "private life", to which Levine said he did not have "the faintest idea where those rumors came from or what objective they served".
With long-silent victims of abuse now speaking out about sexual harassment and predatory behavior by powerful, high-profile men in Hollywood, Congress and the media, it was inevitable that stories would begin to appear about sexual misbehavior in the backstage classical music milieu where conductors wield great power with few consequences for unprofessional behavior.
Levine has struggled with health problems including Parkinson's disease in recent years but is scheduled to conduct several productions this season.
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