Metropolitan Opera Fires James Levine After Sexual Abuse Investigation

James Levine in 2009

In December, Levine was suspended from his posts as music director emeritus and head of its young artist program; he was sacked this week after an internal investigation revealed "sexually abusive and harassing conduct".

Levine has denied the allegations, calling them "unfounded".

The Met said more than 70 individuals were interviewed during the course of the investigation. His representative did not immediately return a request for comment on Monday.

The Met added that in addition to its findings on the allegations against Levine, the investigation suggested that any claims of a cover-up are "completely unsubstantiated". The Met also appointed attorney Robert J. Cleary, a former US attorney and the current head of the investigations practice at the Proskauer Rose law firm, to lead the investigation into the allegations that took place from the 1960s to 1980s.

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Levine was music director at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, from 1973 to 1993. Pai grew up near the festival, where Levine was music director, and wanted to become a conductor. Brown, who went on to play principal bass in the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, said that one night in the dorms, Levine had masturbated him and asked him to reciprocate - and then punished Brown when he declined to do so again, ignoring him for the rest of the summer, even when he was conducting him. His health worsened in 2006, when he tripped and fell on the stage of Boston's Symphony Hall during ovations that followed a performance and he tore a rotator cuff, which required shoulder surgery.

Even before the accusations, the Met had been moving toward a post-Levine era.

The 74-year-old Levine had been a towering figure in the company's history, ruling over its repertoire, orchestra and singers as music or artistic director from 1976 until he stepped down under pressure two years ago. "The artists of the Metropolitan Opera, like workers in every industry, deserve a safe place of work".

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