Home / Entertainment / Met Opera Suspends James Levine After New Sexual Abuse Accusations

Met Opera Suspends James Levine After New Sexual Abuse Accusations

But now the Met — the country’s biggest appearing arts group and one of the most international’s maximum prestigious opera properties — reveals itself within the place that Hollywood studios, tv networks and newsrooms have faced in contemporary weeks, answering questions on what it knew about allegations of sexual misconduct in opposition to one among its stars, and what movements it did and didn't take.

Mr. Gelb mentioned allegations about Mr. Levine had reached the Met management’s higher ranges two times earlier than, to his wisdom.

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

“We do not believe there is any truth whatsoever to the charges,” Mr. Bliss wrote within the letter, a replica of which was once received through The Times, which mentioned the Met had spoken “extensively” with Mr. Levine and his supervisor. “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's no file of the unique, unsigned letter, so the particular accusations in opposition to Mr. Levine in it stay unclear.)


1979 Metropolitan Opera Letter on Accusations About James Levine

Anthony A. Bliss, then government director of the Met Opera, wrote this letter to a Met board member who had gained nameless accusations about James Levine, the song director on the time.

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And then in October 2016, after Mr. Levine had stepped down from his place as song director, Mr. Gelb mentioned he was once contacted through a detective with the Lake Forest Police asking questions on Mr. Pai’s file.

Mr. Gelb mentioned that he briefed the board’s management and that Mr. Levine denied the accusations. The corporate took no additional motion, ready to look what the police decided. Then, on Saturday, the Met made up our minds to analyze Mr. Levine after media inquiries about his conduct with younger males.

Mr. Gelb mentioned that the Met had appointed Robert J. Cleary, a spouse on the Proskauer Rose regulation company who was once prior to now a United States legal professional in New Jersey and Illinois, to guide its investigation.


Peter Gelb, the overall supervisor of the Metropolitan Opera’s normal supervisor.

Sara Krulwich/The New York Times

The males coming ahead now mentioned that one of the vital abuse began years in the past, at the start of Mr. Levine’s occupation, and that this kind of conduct were extensively rumored in song circles.

Mr. Brown, the previous bass participant within the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, mentioned that he were shocked in the summertime of 1968 when Mr. Levine made him predominant bass at Meadow Brook, for the reason that Mr. Brown was once simplest 17 and had simply completed his junior 12 months of highschool, whilst different avid gamers had been older and extra skilled. He mentioned that he was once to begin with flattered when Mr. Levine, the conductor of the college’s orchestra and the director of its orchestral institute, started to ask him to his dorm room overdue at evening.

At their 3rd assembly, Mr. Brown mentioned, Mr. Levine started speaking about intercourse.

“At that point I think it was basically a combination of fatigue and being young that allowed me to go to the bed — it was the bottom bunk — and have him masturbate me,” Mr. Brown mentioned. “And then, almost immediately, he asked for reciprocation. And I have some very, very strong pictures in my memory, and one of them was being on the floor, and he was on the bottom bunk, and I put my hand on his penis, and I felt so ashamed.”

“The next morning I was late to rehearsal,” mentioned Mr. Brown, who were raised a Christian Scientist and recalled that he had gained little intercourse training. “I was in a complete daze. Whatever happens when you get abused had happened, and it wasn’t just sexual.”

At their subsequent assembly, Mr. Brown mentioned, he advised Mr. Levine that he would now not repeat the sexual conduct, and requested if they may proceed to make song as they'd earlier than.

“And he answered no,” Mr. Brown mentioned, including that Mr. Levine hardly ever checked out him for the remainder of the summer season, even whilst carrying out him. “It was a terrible, terrible summer.” (That fall, after he returned for his senior 12 months of highschool, on the Interlochen Arts Academy, Mr. Brown advised his roommate about Mr. Levine’s sexual advances at Meadow Brook, the roommate showed in an interview.)


James Lestock at his house in Asheville, N.C., on Sunday. He accused James Levine of sexual misconduct when Mr. Lestock was once an adolescent.

Jacob Biba for The New York Times

Mr. Lestock, the teenage cello pupil at Meadow Brook, mentioned in a phone interview that he had a identical enjoy that summer season in Mr. Levine’s dorm room.

“During the discussion, he suggested that I take my clothes off, because this would be natural and honest and expand my outlook on the world,” Mr. Lestock mentioned. “My initial response included the word ‘no.’ I was not interested in that. But he ignored that, and pursued the point, and convinced me to let him masturbate me.”

Mr. Levine at that time was once additionally an assistant conductor on the Cleveland Orchestra, and was once surrounded through a tight-knit clique of musicians who had been awed through him and adopted him as his occupation took off. Mr. Lestock joined that team, whose contributors studied song in combination, traveled in combination, ate in combination, and on occasion lived in combination. But he mentioned that through the years he was once on occasion subjected to humiliating sexual encounters with Mr. Levine.

At one level in Cleveland, the place he moved in 1969 to review on the Cleveland Institute of Music, he mentioned that Mr. Levine inspired the contributors of the crowd to place on blindfolds and masturbate companions they may now not see. They did, Mr. Lestock mentioned.

“This was the extent to which he had control,” Mr. Lestock mentioned. Another member of the crowd, who spoke at the situation of anonymity to protect his privateness, mentioned that he had additionally taken phase in a blindfolded masturbation consultation.

A couple of years later, in a lodge close to the Ravinia Festival, Mr. Lestock mentioned that Mr. Levine led to him bodily ache, telling him that he will have to “expand” his “range of emotions” and pinching him — many times and difficult — on his legs.

“Once I started to break down and cry, he continued to try to hurt me,” Mr. Lestock mentioned of Mr. Levine, who was once song director of Ravinia from 1973 thru 1993.

But Mr. Lestock mentioned he felt powerless to depart. “If I had left the group at the point, I would have had no career, no income, no friends, and have been totally alone in the world,” he mentioned. After following Mr. Levine to New York within the early 1970s, Mr. Lestock, who's now 67, sooner or later left the crowd, and song.

Mr. Pai mentioned that he first met Mr. Levine when he was once 4 years previous and his oldsters took him behind the scenes after a Ravinia live performance. In 1985, when Mr. Pai was once 15, he mentioned, Mr. Levine gave him a journey house and started preserving his hand in an “incredibly sensual way.” The following summer season, he mentioned, Mr. Levine touched his penis in a lodge room close to the competition, starting what he described as years of sexual encounters.

“I was vulnerable,” mentioned Mr. Pai, who's 48. “I was under this man’s sway, I saw him as a safe, protective person, he took advantage of me, he abused me and it has really messed me up.”

He mentioned that the connection persisted for years and that his emotions had been difficult: He shared a replica of a Western Union Mailgram he had despatched to Mr. Levine on the Salzburg Festival in 1988 that contained the postscript “P.S. I love you.” But Mr. Pai got here to comprehend that, in the ones early years, he were too younger to offer consent.

Speculation about Mr. Levine’s personal lifestyles has on occasion come into public view. In 1987, Mr. Levine brushed aside communicate of wrongdoing in an interview with The Times, announcing that “both my friends and my enemies checked it out and to this day, I don’t have the faintest idea where those rumors came from or what purpose they served.”

A decade later, extra rumors circulated in Germany, when politicians and media shops debated his appointment to develop into the song director of the Munich Philharmonic, starting in 1999. In an interview in The Times in 1998, Mr. Levine declined to reply to the idea.

“I’ve never been able to speak in public generalities about my private life,” he mentioned.

Officials at Ravinia, the place Mr. Levine is scheduled to start an ongoing annual residency subsequent summer season, mentioned on Sunday that they first realized of the accusations throughout the media this weekend. “Ravinia finds these allegations very disturbing and contrary to its zero-tolerance policies and culture,” Allie Brightwell, its media supervisor, mentioned in an electronic mail. “Ravinia will take any actions that it deems appropriate following the results of these investigations.”

The Boston Symphony Orchestra, which Mr. Levine led from 2004 thru 2011, mentioned in a commentary Sunday that it had performed “a personal and professional review of all aspects of James Levine’s candidacy” earlier than naming him its song director, and that it had by no means been approached throughout his tenure with accusations of beside the point conduct.

For the 3 males, unburdening themselves after many years has intended delving again into a few of their maximum painful reminiscences.

Sitting in his house in St. Paul, Mr. Brown regarded over previous paperwork from Meadow Brook, together with a program for a starry live performance efficiency of Verdi’s “Rigoletto” that includes Cornell MacNeil, Roberta Peters and Jan Peerce during which he performed underneath Mr. Levine’s baton. He mentioned his abuse had left scars for years.


A program for the Meadow Brook School of Music’s 1968 manufacturing of “Rigoletto.”

Karsten Moran for The New York Times

“I’m still trying to figure out why it’s so incredibly emotional, and sticks with you for your whole life,” Mr. Brown mentioned. “It’s shame, a lack of intimacy and sheltering yourself from other people.”

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