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James Levine suspended from Met Opera for molesting young men


Met Opera Suspends James Levine After New Sexual Abuse Accusations

By MICHAEL COOPERDEC. 3, 2017

The Metropolitan Opera suspended James Levine, its revered conductor and former music director, on Sunday after three men came forward with accusations that Mr. Levine sexually abused them decades ago, when the men were teenagers.

Peter Gelb, the general manager of the Met, announced that the company was suspending its four-decade relationship with Mr. Levine, 74, and canceling his upcoming conducting engagements after learning from The New York Times on Sunday about the accounts of the three men, who described a series of similar sexual encounters beginning in the late 1960s. The Met has also asked an outside law firm to investigate Mr. Levine’s behavior.

The accusations of sexual misconduct stretch back to 1968.

Chris Brown, who played principal bass in the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra for more than three decades, said that Mr. Levine masturbated him that summer — and then coaxed him to reciprocate — when Mr. Brown was 17 at the Meadow Brook School of Music in Michigan. Mr. Levine, then 25, was a rising star on the summer program’s faculty. James Lestock said that Mr. Levine also masturbated him there that summer when Mr. Lestock was 17 and a cello student — the first of many sexual encounters with Mr. Levine that have haunted him. And Ashok Pai, who grew up in Illinois near the Ravinia Festival, where Mr. Levine was music director, said that he was sexually abused by Mr. Levine starting in the summer of 1986, when Mr. Pai was 16 — an accusation he made last year in a report to the Lake Forest Police Department in Illinois.

Mr. Gelb said allegations about Mr. Levine had reached the Met administration’s upper levels twice before, to his knowledge.

One was in 1979, when Anthony A. Bliss, who was then the Met’s executive director, wrote a letter to a board member about unspecified accusations about Mr. Levine that had been made in an unsigned letter.

“We do not believe there is any truth whatsoever to the charges,” Mr. Bliss wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Times, which said the Met had spoken “extensively” with Mr. Levine and his manager. “Scurrilous rumors have been circulating for some months and have often been accompanied by other charges which we know for a fact are untrue.” (Mr. Bliss died in 1991, and there is no record of the original, unsigned letter, so the specific accusations against Mr. Levine in it remain unclear.)

And then in October 2016, after Mr. Levine had stepped down from his position as music director, Mr. Gelb said he was contacted by a detective with the Lake Forest Police asking questions about Mr. Pai’s report.

Mr. Gelb said that he briefed the board’s leadership and that Mr. Levine denied the accusations. The company took no further action, waiting to see what the police determined. Then, on Saturday, the Met decided to investigate Mr. Levine after media inquiries about his behavior with young men.

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Details about the accusations are at the link.
12/4/2017, 12:44 pm Link to this post PM Bellelettres
 
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Re: James Levine suspended from Met Opera for molesting young men


“We do not believe there is any truth whatsoever to the charges,” Mr. Bliss wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Times, which said the Met had spoken “extensively” with Mr. Levine and his manager. “Scurrilous rumors have been circulating for some months and have often been accompanied by other charges which we know for a fact are untrue.” (Mr. Bliss died in 1991, and there is no record of the original, unsigned letter, so the specific accusations against Mr. Levine in it remain unclear.)

wow! he knew for a fact the rumors were untrue. How sad.
12/4/2017, 6:45 pm Link to this post PM snowpixie Blog
 
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Re: James Levine suspended from Met Opera for molesting young men


How did The Times get a copy of the letter if the original doesn't exist?
12/4/2017, 9:03 pm Link to this post PM katie5445 Blog
 


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